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Open Access Short Report

Cross-species testing and utility of microsatellite loci in Indirana frogs

Abhilash Nair1*, Sujith V Gopalan2, Sanil George2, K Santhosh Kumar2 and Juha Merilä1

Author Affiliations

1 Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland

2 Chemical Biology, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, PO Thycaud, Poojappura, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 695 014, India

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:389  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-389

Published: 29 July 2012



Microsatellite loci are widely used in population and conservation genetic studies of amphibians, but the availability of such markers for tropical and subtropical taxa is currently very limited. In order to develop resources for conservation genetic studies in the genus Indirana, we tested amplification success and polymorphism in 62 previously developed microsatellite loci, in eight Indirana species - including new candidate species. Developing genomic resources for this amphibian taxon is particularly important as it is endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, and harbours several endangered species.


The cross-species amplification success rate varied from 11.3 % to 29.0 % depending on the species, with 29 - 80 % of the amplifying loci being polymorphic. A strong negative correlation between cross-species amplification success (and polymorphism) and genetic distance separating target from source species was observed.


Our results provide additional genetic support for the existence of genetically divergent cryptic species within the genus Indirana. The tested markers should be useful for population and conservation genetic studies in this genus, and in particular, for species closely related to the source species, I. beddomii.

Amphibia; Microsatellite; Indirana; Biodiversity hotspot; Ranixalidae; Western Ghats