The effect of habitat and climatic on microsatellite diversity and allele length variation

Orly Cohen, Yoav Ram, Lilach Hadany, Eli Geffen*, Sarig Gafny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microsatellite loci have been shown to vary according to environment. We studied allelic length variation and diversity in eight microsatellite loci along a sharp climatic and habitat gradient in Israel, using the eastern spadefoot toad (Pelobates syriacus) as our model system. We found a gradual increase in allele lengths from north to south. We used a distance-based redundancy analysis (dbRDA) to associate between allele length and habitat and climatic measures and found that geography and annual climate explained the significant variation in allele length. We also used additional measurements pertaining to demography, heterozygosity and allelic diversity to explore four different hypotheses that might explain the variations in allele length. Our results suggest that the changes we observed in allele lengths may not be purely random but could be influenced by the differential mutation rate and/or local environmental conditions operating at the different locations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number893856
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2022


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University


    • environmental gradient
    • environmental stability
    • genetic drift
    • heterozygote instability
    • hydroperiod
    • natural selection
    • stress-induced mutagenesis


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