• crossing over;
  • duplication;
  • flanking region;
  • Lepidoptera;
  • microsatellites;
  • mobile elements


Microsatellite flanking regions have been compared in two butterfly species. Several microsatellite flanking regions showed high similarity to one another among different microsatellites within a same species, but very few similarities were found between species. This can be the consequence of either duplication/multiplication events involving large regions containing microsatellites or of microsatellites imbedded in minisatellite regions. The multiplication of microsatellites might also be linked to mobile elements. Furthermore, crossing over between nonhomologous microsatellites can lead to the exchange of the flanking regions between microsatellites. The same phenomenon was observed in both studied butterfly species but not in Aphis fabae (Hemiptera), which was screened at the same time using the same protocol. These findings might explain, at least partially, why microsatellite isolation in Lepidoptera has been relatively unsuccessful so far.