The fungus- growing termite, Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen), an indigenous species from Southeast Asia distributed from Myanmar to Indonesia and the Philippines, offers great potential as an ecological model system to elucidate the effects of geography on gene flow within this region. We used next generation sequencing (Roche 454 pyrosequencing) to identify microsatellite markers from the genomic DNA of M. gilvus. A modest sequencing volume generated 34,122 reads, with 1,212 (3.6%) reads contains microsatellites with di-, tri-, tetra-, penta-, and hexa-nucleotide repeat motifs. Thirtyseven loci were selected for primer development and tested for polymorphism across 22 colonies of M. gilvus. Eleven loci were found to be polymorphic with 2–4 alleles per locus. Observed and expected heterozygosities ranged between 0.091–0.727 and 0.090–0.540, respectively. Cross taxa amplification was successful across a panel of four related termite species and four multiplex groups were designed for future population genetic studies. These markers will open new avenues for the study of phylogeography and population genetics of this fungus-growing termite. This study also has effectively demonstrated the use of 454 pyrosequencing for the rapid development of informative microsatellite markers from a termite genome.
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Vol. 41 • No. 2