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Stephen A. Karl karl at CHUMA.CAS.USF.EDU
Fri Nov 1 09:36:49 EST 1996

On 1 Nov 1996, Louis van de Zande wrote: *heavily edited*

> not much empirical data are available...
> longer microsatellites (i.e. more repeat
> units) are more variable as well (i.e. have more alleles/locus)
> why null-alleles can exist within a species (due
> to mutations in primersites) while microsatellite loci are conserved
> between species?
> - Is there an upper limit to microsatellite length?

Dear All:
  In response to the above request for information on the mechanism and
pattern of evolution of microsatellite I would like to contribute the
following. My students and I have been conducting a discussion
group on many of these questions and have actually been able to find a lot
of information (relative to what I initially believed was available).

   The answers to your questions are more likely found in the
medical and not the ecological literature. It would take far too long to
review all of the papers that we have looked at, but there are some
helpful starting points.
	1) Nature Genetics is a good place to browse
	2) Try a name search of papers by:
		H. Ellegreen, D. Rubinsztein, B. Amos (to name only a few)
	3) If you don't like either of the above, use the following papers
	   as a key to the literature:

		Nature Genetics 13:390
		Nature Genetics 13:391
		Nature Genetics 10:337
		Nature Genetics 11:360

Why null alleles can exist in a species while primers work across species
is not a topic on which we have seem much information.  The answer,
however, may actually just point to the importance of specific mutations
which have no necessary bearing on genetic distance.

 Good luck,
Steve Karl

Stephen Karl
Department of Biology
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, LIF 136
Tampa, Florida 33620-5150
Voice (813) 974-1592
Fax   (813) 974-3263
EMail Karl at chuma.cas.usf.edu

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