Development and characterization of 20 polymorphic microsatellite markers for the white-bellied pangolin Phataginus tricuspis (Mammalia, Pholidota)

Samantha AguillonPhilippe Gaubert


Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, have recently been flagshiped as one of the most illegally traded mammals, and as a corollary, as potential intermediate hosts at the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to improve the traceability of their trade, we developed 20 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), the species most frequently found on African bushmeat markets. We genotyped 24 white-bellied pangolins from the Douala market, Cameroon, originating from the Ebo forest c. 75 km north-east of Douala. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 4 to 12 (mean=6.95), and mean observed and expected heterozygosities were 0.592 (0.208-0.875) and 0.671 (0.469-0.836), respectively. Genetic diversity was higher than that cross-estimated from microsatellite loci developed for other species of pangolins. Two loci deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and two loci showed linkage disequilibrium. Genetic variance (PCoA) was increased with the addition of 13 pangolins of unknown origin, possibly suggesting that the Douala market is fed from differentiated source populations of white-bellied pangolins. Each of the 37 individuals had a unique multilocus genotype. The unbiased probability of ide...Continue Reading

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