The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri yaoshanensis) has long been proposed to serve as an animal model for studying human diseases. However, its overall genetic diversity and population structure remain largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the genetic diversity of population microsatellite DNA in wild Tupaia belangeri yaoshanensis. Sixteen microsatellite loci were assessed in 76 wild Tupaia belangeri yaoshanensis. The target microsatellite DNA fragments were amplified from the peripheral blood DNA of the animals by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the PCR-amplified products were verified by DNA sequencing and used for the analysis of allele, effective allele, genetic heterozygosity, polymorphism and population structure. Our results showed that of the 16 microsatellite loci examined, 5 microsatellite loci were monomorphic and 11 microsatellite loci were polymorphic. We detected 61 alleles in the polymorphic loci and found 2-10 (with an average of 5.5455) alleles per locus. Our data also showed that the observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.087 to 0.8947 and 0.1368 to 0.7892 with an average of 0.3968 and 0.4796, respectively. Taken together, the results revealed a considerably high heterozygosity and high genetic diversity at the molecular level in the population of wild Tupaia belangeri yaoshanensis. The identified markers from the present study may be useful for individual identification and parentage testing, as well as for the quantification of population heterogeneity in the Chinese tree shrew.
Keywords: Tupaia belangeri yaoshanensis; microsatellite; population genetic diversity.