Development of genetic tools for the redbait species Pyura herdmani and P. stolonifera, important bioengineers along African coastlines

  • A. Dinoi
  • M. Rius
  • M. Tine
  • P.R. Teske
Keywords: ascidians, Illumina sequencing, microsatellites, mitochondrial markers, mitogenome, RAD-seq, short tandem repeats


The development of new genetic resources is key for biological conservation in an era when the preservation of biodiversity is crucial. Here, we report the development of microsatellites and mitochondrial markers for the redbait species Pyura herdmani and P. stolonifera, both important bioengineers along African coastlines. Specifically, we identified microsatellites by means of pyrosequencing and variable regions in the mitochondrial genome using RAD-seq libraries that were generated with Illumina sequencing. A total of 4 339 putative microsatellites were found, of which 32 were tested on individuals collected along the southeast coast of South Africa. Of those, five  microsatellites cross-amplified consistently in both species, and these were tested on a total of 260 samples. Additionally, we mapped the partial mitochondrial genome of a small number of  individuals from both species and identified the most-variable regions by comparing a small number of individuals from all regions where these species have been recorded (including western South Africa and northwest Africa). The genetic markers developed here can be used to conduct population genetic studies, to monitor range shifts under   contemporary climate change, and to help in preserving ecosystem functioning along African coastlines.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X