Dr Deborah Dawson
Isolation of new microsatellite loci
I have developed the microsatellite isolation techniques used at the Facility, isolated microsatellite markers for over thirty species (including birds, insects, plants, mammals and fish) and supervised their development for another 50+ species. See the full list of species from which the NBAF team have isolated microsatellites here.
Cross-species utility of microsatellite markers
I successfully developed a method to create microsatellite markers of enhanced cross-species utility. I used sequence homology between the chicken and zebra finch to develop a set of markers that are polymorphic in the highest number of passerine bird species (see Dawson et al. 2010 & 2013). Microsatellite isolation and development can be a time-consuming and therefore expensive task. These conserved markers will not only save the resources but they will enable comparisons between species without ascertainment biasis. Such comparisons have not previously been possible.
Prior to this work I created a BIRDMARKER webpage including a Bird microsatellite primer cross-utility database, to display which markers are available for each different bird family and to identify those markers which are expected to be most suitable to genotype a particular species.