The selection of molecular markers for population studies is an important tool for biodiversity conservation. The family Psittacidae contains many endangered and vulnerable species and we tested three kinds of molecular markers for their potential use in population studies of five psitacid species: 43 hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), 42 blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna), 23 red-and-green macaws (Ara chloroptera), 19 red-spectacled amazons (Amazona pretrei); and 18 red-tailed amazons (Amazona brasiliensis). We tested 21 clones from a genomic library of golden conure (Guarouba guarouba) minisatellites and 12 pairs of microsatellite primers developed for the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) and A. hyacinthinus. We also tested seven tetranucleotide repeat primers for their ability to amplify regions between microsatellite loci (inter simple sequence repeats, ISSRs). We were able to select seven markers that were variable in different degrees for three species (A. hyacinthinus, A. chloroptera and A. ararauna). The mini and microsatellites produced more polymorphic patterns than the ISSRs. The genetic variability of the species studied seems to be correlated with their endangered status
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