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Keywords:

  • binning;
  • high throughput;
  • multiplexing;
  • nextgen sequencing;
  • quality control;
  • SSR

Abstract

Microsatellites have been popular molecular markers ever since their advent in the late eighties. Despite growing competition from new genotyping and sequencing techniques, the use of these versatile and cost-effective markers continues to increase, boosted by successive technical advances. First, methods for multiplexing PCR have considerably improved over the last years, thereby decreasing genotyping costs and increasing throughput. Second, next-generation sequencing technologies allow the identification of large numbers of microsatellite loci at reduced cost in non-model species. As a consequence, more stringent selection of loci is possible, thereby further enhancing multiplex quality and efficiency. However, current practices are lagging behind. By surveying recently published population genetic studies relying on simple sequence repeats, we show that more than half of the studies lack appropriate quality controls and do not make use of multiplex PCR. To make the most of the latest technical developments, we outline the need for a well-established strategy including standardized high-throughput bench protocols and specific bioinformatic tools, from primer design to allele calling.