The inheritance mode of six previously published and newly developed microsatellite markers was investigated in newly hatched Haliotis discus hannai larvae from four controlled crosses, and the feasibility of these markers for kinship estimation was also examined. Microsatellite DNA was successfully amplified from H. discus hannai larvae using the Chelex extraction method, and at least 15 microsatellite loci could be analyzed in a single trochophore larva. All six microsatellite loci were compatible with Mendelian inheritance. Neither evidence of sex-linked barriers to transmission nor evidence of major barriers to fertilization between gametes from the parents was shown. One of the six microsatellite loci showed the existence of null alleles in one family, indicating that the loci should be used in population studies with caution. Although the null allele heterozygotes were considered as homozygotes in the calculation of genetic distance, offspring from four full-sib families were unambiguously discriminated in the neighbor-joining dendrogram. The result demonstrates that the microsatellite markers might be capable of discriminating between related and unrelated abalone larvae in the situation where no pedigree information is available.
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