Microsatellites are repetitive nucleotide sequences consisting of 1-6 bp, and they are frequently scattered throughout most genomes. Compared to other types of DNA, the microsatellite DNA mutate rather frequently. Most microsatellite mutations are supposed to involve a gain or loss of a repetitive unit. The high mutagenesis frequency makes natural mutation events detectable when performing sequence analysis of parent-offspring material. The rate of how microsatellites changes at a macro evolutionary perspective, can be determined by sequence analysis of specific microsatellites in related species. Such a detailed characterising of mutation events, both focusing type, frequency and effect, is important to improve the understanding of the microsatellite evolution.
Anmarkrud JA, Kleven O, Augustin J, Bentz KH, Blomquist D, Fernie KJ, Magrath MJL, Pärn H, Quinn JS, Robertson RJ, Szép T, Tarof S, Wagner RH & Lifjeld JT. Factors affecting germline mutations in a hypervariable microsatellite: a comparative analysis of six species of swallows (Aves: Hirundinidae). Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanism of Mutagenesis (accepted).
Anmarkrud JA, Kleven O, Bachmann L, Lifjeld JT. 2008. Microsatellite evolution: Mutations, sequence variation, and homoplasy in the hypervariable avian microsatellite locus HrU10. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 138. (Abstract)