Molecular evolution of microsatellite markers in the Orthoptera
Microsatellite loci of Orthopteran species, which are characterized by giant genomes, are prone to high levels of heterozygosity, high prevalence of null alleles and high similarity between their flanking regions. My questions hence asked for an improved understanding of the peculiar molecular evolution of the microsatellite markers in this Order. The accuracy of inferences on evolutionary history or population demography from microsatellite data is highly dependent on this knowledge.
Main collaborators: A. Estoup, R. Streiff and G.A. Sword.
Main publications: 3, 16, 21, 25.
Evolutionary history of the desert locustThe desert locust is a polytypic species which is distributed in two distinct regions along the North-South axis of Africa. The nominal subspecies, S. g. gregaria, is one of the most widespread and harmful locust species with a huge potential invasion area in northern Africa. S. g. flaviventris is restricted to the south-western arid zone of Africa and swarms only rarely. My aims were to identify morphological and molecular diagnostic characters for desert locust subspecies, estimate key parameters of their independent evolutionary history (e.g. divergence time), better understand and compare their population structure, and characterize climatic causes behind each subspecies range limits.
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