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Keywords:

  • cross-amplification;
  • expressed sequence tags;
  • null alleles;
  • Orthoptera;
  • pest;
  • Schistocerca gregaria

Abstract

The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) has been feared agricultural pest since early civilization, with plagues documented in ancient texts. Population genetic studies of the desert locust are needed to determine genetic variation and movement pattern for efficient control of the pest. In this study, we complemented the limited available microsatellite collection for the desert locust with 34 new polymorphic and multiplexed microsatellite loci. To this aim, we screened an expressed sequence tags library and constructed a partial genomic library enriched for dinucleotide repeats to develop high-throughput and high-quality genotyping assays. We then paid particular attention to quality control and carefully validated 26 of these novel microsatellites and six previously described loci for the absence of null alleles in Western African field populations. This large panel of high-quality microsatellite markers provides new opportunity to infer dispersal rates between populations of the desert locust and help prioritize early monitoring and control. Furthermore, high potential for cross-taxa utility of markers was observed within Schistocerca genus, which includes other locust pest species, with reliable amplification achieved for at least ten of loci per species. Microsatellite markers developed from transcriptome resources were largely devoid of null alleles and were conserved across species compared with those derived from traditional genomic libraries. Accordingly, the number of highly reliable microsatellite markers was greatly improved compared with that of previous studies on Orthopteran species, and this strategy might be broadly applied in other insect species prone to null alleles.