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Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for conservation management of the endangered Great-billed Seed-finch, Sporophila maximiliani (Aves, Passeriformes), and cross-amplification in other congeners

Medolago, Cesar A. B., Costa, Mariellen C., Ubaid, Flávio K., Glenn, Travis C., Silveira, Luís F., Francisco, Mercival R.
Molecular biology reports 2018 v.45 no.6 pp. 2815-2819
Passeriformes, alleles, captive animals, forensic sciences, genetic markers, heterozygosity, hybrids, loci, microsatellite repeats, neotropical birds, parentage, trade, trapping
The Great-billed Seed-finch, Sporophila maximiliani, is a threatened neotropical bird that has declined mainly due to illegal trapping, with very few records in the wild in the last two decades. Despite the existence of a considerable captive population that could be used for reintroductions into the wild, many individuals are known to be hybrids either with other species or subspecies of the genus. Forensic investigations are urgently needed to distinguish between birds born in captivity from those from illegal trade. Microsatellites can be useful tools to assess individual admixture levels and to perform parentage tests that may confirm the origin of animals, but only a few loci are available for this group of birds. Here, we provide a set of 14 microsatellite loci isolated from the S. maximiliani, many of which also amplified and were polymorphic in the Pearly-bellied Seedeater, S. pileata, and in the Copper Seedeater, S. bouvreuil. In ten loci selected for the S. maximiliani, the number of alleles per locus varied from four to nine and observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.13 to 1 and 0.56 to 0.83, respectively. These loci proved to be highly informative for forensic analyses, indicating that they may be useful for conservation management plans in these endangered tropical birds.