Microsatellites have a wide range of applications from behavioral biology, evolution, to agriculture-based breeding programs. The recent progress in the next-generation sequencing technologies and the rapidly increasing number of published genomes may greatly enhance the current applications of microsatellites by turning them from anonymous to informative markers. Here we developed an approach to anchor microsatellite markers of any target species in a genome of a related model species, through which the genomic locations of the markers, along with any functional genes potentially linked to them, can be revealed. We mapped the shotgun sequence reads of a non-model rodent species Apodemus semotus against the genome of a model species, Mus musculus, and presented 24 polymorphic microsatellite markers with detailed background information for A. semotus in this study. The developed markers can be used in other rodent species, especially those that are closely related to A. semotus or M. musculus. Compared to the traditional approaches based on DNA cloning, our approach is likely to yield more loci for the same cost. This study is a timely demonstration of how a research team can efficiently generate informative (neutral or function-associated) microsatellite markers for their study species and unique biological questions.
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