Characterization of 12 microsatellite primer pairs for the African grey parrot, Psittacus erithacus and their conservation across the Psittaciformes


Tiawanna D. Taylor, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa. Fax: +27 (0)33 2605105; E-mail:


This study describes 12 microsatellite loci identified in the African grey parrot Psittacus erithacus. Eleven were polymorphic, with observed heterozygosities 42–94% (average 68) and exclusion powers of PE1 = 0.996 and PE2 = 0.999. Microsatellites have previously been developed for a number of other parrots but showed limited cross-species polymorphism. Here high levels of cross-species amplification were observed: 71% of 32 Psittacines (22 genera). At least seven loci, 58%, were polymorphic in other African parrots as well as Neotropical and Australasian parrots, which diverged from the African parrots c30.6 and over 41.4 million years ago, respectively.