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Microsatellite DNA markers for the study of horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) population structure

Authors

  • TIM L. KING,

    Corresponding author
    1. U.S. Geological Survey-Biological Resources Division, Leetown Science Center-Aquatic Ecology Branch, 11649 Leetown Road, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430, USA
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  • MICHAEL S. EACKLES

    1. U.S. Geological Survey-Biological Resources Division, Leetown Science Center-Aquatic Ecology Branch, 11649 Leetown Road, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430, USA
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Tim L. King. Fax: (304) 725-0351; E-mail: tim_king@usgs.gov

Abstract

Twenty-two microsatellite DNA loci were identified and characterized for horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) collected from two Atlantic coast and one Gulf of Mexico site. These markers revealed a high degree of genetic diversity (8–35 alleles per locus), heterozygosity (25.0% to 100.0%), and allelic heterogeneity (69.8% of comparisons). Considerable regional differentiation was observed as genetic distances (chord) ranged between 0.25 and 0.45, and all FST values (0.014–0.092) were significant. These preliminary findings are consistent with patterns of regional differentiation observed using allozyme variation and contradictory to findings of limited gene flow reported for sequence variation at the mitochondrial DNA COI region.

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