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Extensive size homoplasy at a microsatellite locus in the Japanese bumblebee, Bombus diversus


Dr Jun Yokoyama, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8578 Japan.


An extensive size homoplasy was found at microsatellite locus B11 of the bumblebee, Bombus diversus, in northern to central Honshu, Japan. A total of 16 alleles of different nucleotide sequences in five length morphs was obtained at B11 for this species. Of these alleles, five were 141 base pairs (bp) in length, five were 137 bp and four were 133 bp. Allele diversity in each length morph was high compared with previous studies. It is noteworthy that this extensive size homoplasy was found in a relatively small geographic area, in contrast to results from previous studies. Reconstruction of a median-joining network revealed the complicated evolutionary process of the locus, involving insertion/deletion and point mutations. Preliminary estimation of the mutation rate of the B11 locus in B. diversus gives a value comparable to those estimated from experimental Drosophila populations. Effects of the extensive size homoplasy in population genetic studies is discussed.