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Microsatellites for Microbiologists
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Dr Michael Sweet
Dr Ian Singleton
Sweet MJ, Scriven LA, Singleton I
Gadd, G.M., Sariaslani, S.
Advances in Applied Microbiology
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Microsatellites are repeating sequences of 2–6 base pairs of DNA. Currently, they areused as molecular markers in many organisms, specifically in genetic studies analyzingkinship and population structure. In addition, they can be used to study gene duplicationand/or deletion. Although they are used in studies on microorganisms includingfungi, bacteria, protists, and archaea, it appears that these genetic markers are not beingutilized to their full microbiological potential. Microsatellites have many advantages over other genetic markers currently in use as they are in general species specific, andtherefore, cross-contamination by nontarget organisms is rare. Furthermore, microsatellitesare suitable for use with fast and cheap DNA extraction methods, with ancientDNA or DNA from hair and fecal samples used in noninvasive sampling, making themwidely available as a genetic marker. Microsatellites have already proven to be a usefultool for evolutionary studies of pathogenic microorganisms such as Candida albicansand Helicobacter pylori, and the onset of new sequencing techniques (such as 454,PACBIO, and mini-ion sequencing) means the ability to detect such markers willbecome less time consuming and cheaper, thus further expanding their potential toanswer important microbial ecology questions.
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