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Keywords:

  • freshwater mussels;
  • hermaphroditism;
  • microsatellites;
  • Margaritifera falcata;
  • Unionoidea

Abstract

Ten microsatellite loci were isolated from the western pearlshell, Margaritifera falcata (Gould, 1850) and characterized in populations from Washington and Montana, USA. We also assessed eight microsatellite loci developed in M. margaritifera, two of which showed utility. Both of our test populations showed significant heterozygote deficiencies at most loci, consistent with a hermaphroditic life history. Populations differed markedly with respect to allelic richness, allele frequencies and numbers of identical multilocus genotypes. This panel of loci should prove useful in describing gene flow and genetic diversity patterns among M. falcata populations, information that should aid future conservation efforts.