Assessing genetic diversity in clonal organisms: low diversity or low resolution? Combining power and cost efficiency in selecting markers

J Hered. Jul-Aug 2005;96(4):434-40. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esi043. Epub 2005 Mar 2.


The increasing use of molecular tools to study populations of clonal organisms leads us to question whether the low polymorphism found in many studies reflects limited genetic diversity in populations or the limitations of the markers used. Here we used microsatellite datasets for two sea grass species to provide a combinatory statistic, combined with a likelihood approach to estimate the probability of identical multilocus genotypes (MLGs) to be shared by distinct individuals, in order to ascertain the efficiency of the markers used and to optimize cost-efficiently the choice of markers to use for deriving unbiased estimates of genetic diversity. These results strongly indicate that conclusions from studies on clonal organisms derived using markers showing low polymorphism, including microsatellites, should be reassessed using appropriate polymorphic markers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alismatales / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • Plant Shoots / genetics
  • Seedlings / genetics


  • Genetic Markers