Microsatellite size homoplasies and null alleles do not affect species diagnosis and population genetic analysis in a fungal species complex


Thomas N. Sieber, Fax: ++41 (0)44 632 13 80; E-mail: thomas.sieber@env.ethz.ch


The suitability of 13 microsatellite loci for species diagnosis and population genetics in 11 species of the Phialocephala fortinii s.l.–Acephala applanata species complex (PAC) was assessed. Two data sets were compared to test possible biases in species typing and clone detection resulting from null alleles and size homoplasies. The first data set was based on fragment lengths derived from a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and the second data set was received from singleplex PCR at lower stringency and sequencing. Most null alleles observed in the multiplex PCR assay could be amplified during singleplex PCR under less stringent conditions. Size homoplasies resulting from mutations in flanking regions and differences in microsatellite structures were observed. For example, Phialocephala uotolensis possessed a (CT)13 in addition to the (GT)x motif at locus mPF_0644. Despite the occurrence of null alleles and size homoplasies, species diagnosis and population genetic analysis studies were not affected. These markers will facilitate studies on population biology, ecology and biogeography of PAC species.