Microsatellite

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Microsatellites, also known as Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs), or sometimes Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), are repeating sequences of 1-6 base pairs of DNA.[1]

Microsatellites are typically neutral and co-dominant. They are used as molecular markers in genetics, for kinship, population and other studies. They can also be used to study gene duplication or deletion.

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Introduction

One common example of a microsatellite is a (CA)n repeat, where n is variable between alleles. These markers often present high levels of inter- and intra-specific polymorphism, particularly when tandem repeats number ten or greater.[2] The repeated sequence is often simple, consisting of two, three or four nucleotides (di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide repeats respectively), and can be repeated 10 to 100 times. CA nucleotide repeats are very frequent in human and other genomes, and are present every few thousand base pairs. As there are often many alleles present at a microsatellite locus, genotypes within pedigrees are often fully informative, in that the progenitor of a particular allele can often be identified. In this way, microsatellites are ideal for determining paternity, population genetic studies and recombination mapping. It is also the only molecular marker to provide clues about which alleles are more closely related.[3]

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