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Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690


MOURA, RENAN F.; DAWSON, DEBORAH A.  and  NOGUEIRA, DENISE M.. The use of microsatellite markers in Neotropical studies of wild birds: a literature review. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2017, vol.89, n.1, pp.145-154.  Epub Feb 06, 2017. ISSN 0001-3765.

Despite extensive habitat fragmentation, the Neotropical region possesses 30% of the world´s bird species. Microsatellites have remained one of the most popular genetic markers and have been used in ecological and conservation studies since the 1990’s. We conducted a literature review comparing the number of papers published from January 1990 to July 2015 that used microsatellite markers for studies of wild birds in the Neotropical region, USA and some European countries. We assigned the articles to three categories of studies: population genetics, animal behavior/kinship analysis and the development of species-specific bird microsatellite markers. We also compared the studies in the Neotropics that used heterologous versus species-specific markers and provide a list of heterologous markers of utility in multiple birds. Despite the rich bird fauna in the Neotropics, the number of articles published represents only 5.6% of that published by the USA and selected European countries. Within the Neotropical region, Brazil possessed 60.5% of the total papers published, with the remaining 39.5% shared between five countries. We conclude that the lack of specialized laboratories and resources still represents a limit to microsatellite-based genetic studies of birds within the Neotropical region. To overcome these limitations, we suggest the use of heterologous microsatellite markers as a cost-effective and time-effective tool to assist ecological studies of wild birds.

Keywords : AVES; cross-species amplification; biodiversity; ecology; molecular markers; STR.

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