Microsatellites, from molecules to populations and back

Trends Ecol Evol. 1996 Oct;11(10):424-9. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(96)10049-5.


Population genetics studies using microsatellites, and data on their molecular dynamics, are on the increase. But, so far, no consensus has emerged on which mutation model should be used, though this is of paramount importance for analysis of population genetic structure. However, this is not surprising given the variety of microsatellite molecular motifs. Null alleles may be disturbing for population studies, even though their presence can be detected through careful population analyses, while homoplasy seems of little concern, at least over short evolutionary scales. Interspecific studies show that microsatellites are poor markers for phylogenetic inference. However, these studies are fuelling discussions on directional mutation and the role of selection and recombination in their evolution. Nonetheless, it remains true that microsatellites may be considered as good, neutral mendelian markers.