While parasitic lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) have historically been an important model taxon for understanding host-parasite coevolution, very few molecular markers have been developed for phylogenetic analysis. The current markers are insufficient to resolve many of the deeper nodes in this group; therefore, sequences from additional genetic loci are necessary. Here, we design primers targeting several nuclear protein coding genes based on a complete genome and transcriptome of Pediculus humanus L. plus transcriptomes and modest coverage genomic data from five genera of avian feather lice. These primers were tested on 32 genera of avian feather lice (Ischnocera), including multiple species within some genera. All of the new primer combinations produced sequences for the majority of the genera and had similar or higher divergences than the most widely used nuclear protein-coding gene in lice, EF-1α. These results indicate that these new loci will be useful in resolving phylogenetic relationships among parasitic lice.
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Vol. 51 • No. 6