Global microsatellite content distinguishes humans, primates, animals, and plants

C. L. Galindo, L. J. McIver, J. F. McCormick, M. A. Skinner, Y. Xie, R. A. Gelhausen, K. Ng, N. M. Kumar, H. R. Garner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Microsatellites are highly mutable, repetitive sequences commonly used as genetic markers, but they have never been studied en masse. Using a custom microarray to measure hybridization intensities of every possible repetitive nucleotide motif from 1-mers to 6-mers, we examined 25 genomes. Here, we show that global microsatellite content varies predictably by species, as measured by array hybridization signal intensities, correlating with established taxonomic relationships, and particular motifs are characteristic of one species versus another. For instance, hominid-specific microsatellite motifs were identified despite alignment of the human reference, Celera, and Venter genomic sequences indicating substantial variation (30-50%) among individuals. Differential microsatellite motifs were mainly associated with genes involved in developmental processes, whereas those found in intergenic regions exhibited no discernible pattern. This is the first description of a method for evaluating microsatellite content to classify individual genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2809-2819
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Evolution
  • Microarray
  • Microsatellites
  • Speciation
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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