Utility of heterologous microsatellite markers for population genetic studies on tropical species of Asteraceae
The Asteraceae have high ecological importance in the threatened Atlantic Forest biome, as most species are pioneers and nectar-producing plants. Using population genetic data could help develop adequate conservation strategies for species and biomes. However, no genetic data or microsatellite markers are available for most Atlantic Forest native Asteraceae species. In their absence, heterologous microsatellite markers could help conduct population genetic studies of less studied species. We evaluated the transferability and utility for population studies of 15 anonymous microsatellite primers pairs developed from other Asteraceae to four others, three of which are important in folk medicine (Baccharis milleflora, Baccharis articulata, Baccharis dracunculifolia) and a toxic species of veterinary importance (Senecio brasiliensis). We found that the microsatellite primers had high transferability to phylogenetically close Asteraceae species. Transferability rates were below those reported for other plant families. The transferred microsatellite primers gave low polymorphism frequencies and high null allele frequencies in the populations. A major factor contributing to this low transferability and high frequency of null alleles is probably the high genetic variation of tropical Asteraceae.