To assess the reliability of genetic markers it is important to compare inferences that are based on them to a priori expectations. In this article we present an analysis of microsatellite variation within and among populations of island foxes (Urocyon littoralis) on California's Channel Islands. We first show that microsatellite variation at a moderate number of loci (19) can provide an essentially perfect description of the boundaries between populations and an accurate representation of their historical relationships. We also show that the pattern of variation across unlinked microsatellite loci can be used to test whether population size has been constant or increasing. Application of these approaches to the island fox system indicates that microsatellite variation may carry considerably more information about population history than in currently being used.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Feb 1 1999|
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