In line with the Gifu University's initiative to map the Japanese quail genome, a total of 100 Japanese quail microsatellite markers isolated in our laboratory were evaluated in a population of 20 unrelated quails randomly sampled from a colony of wild quail origin. Ninety-eight markers were polymorphic with an average of 3.7 alleles per locus and a mean heterozygosity of 0.423. To determine the utility of these markers for comparative genome mapping in Phasianidae, cross-species amplification of all the markers was tested with chicken and guinea fowl DNA. Amplification products similar in size to the orthologous loci in quail were observed in 42 loci in chicken and 20 loci in guinea fowl. Of the cross-reactive markers, 57.1% in chicken and 55.0% in guinea fowl were polymorphic when tested in 20 birds from their respective populations. Five of 15 markers that could cross-amplify Japanese quail, chicken, and guinea fowl DNA were polymorphic in all three species. Amplification of orthologous loci was confirmed by sequencing 10 loci each from chicken and guinea fowl and comparing with them the corresponding quail sequence. The microsatellite markers reported would serve as a useful resource base for genetic mapping in quail and comparative mapping in Phasianidae.
Keywords: Japanese quail, microsatellite loci, chicken, guinea fowl, comparative genetic map