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Development of microsatellite markers for an outbreaking species of oak gall wasp, Zapatella davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), in the northeastern United States

  • J.C. Andersen (a1), C.P. Camp (a1), M.J. Davis (a1), N.P. Havill (a2) and J.S. Elkinton (a1)...


Populations of the recently described black oak gall wasp, Zapatella davisae Buffington (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), have been identified as the cause of extensive tree damage and mortality to black oaks, Quercus velutina Lamarck (Fagales: Fagaceae), in the northeastern United States. Relatively little is known, however, about the distribution, phylogenetic placement, and lifecycle of this important tree pest. Therefore, we conducted next-generation sequencing using the Ion Torrent™ PGM (ThermoFisher Scientific, Inc.) platform to develop genomic resources for the study of Z. davisae and for other closely related species of oak gall wasps. Individual sequence reads were aligned, assembled into unique contigs, and the contigs were then utilized for the in silico isolation and development of microsatellite markers. In total, we screened 36 candidate microsatellite loci, of which 23 amplified consistently (five polymorphic and 18 monomorphic). We then examined whether the polymorphic loci could be used to infer whether populations of Z. davisae from Cape Cod and Nantucket are sexual or asexual by calculating several metrics of genetic diversity that might indicate the mode of reproduction. These included testing for statistical deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) and for linkage disequilibrium (LD), observations for the presence of the Meselson effect, and by calculating the probability that clonal individuals are more prevalent than would be expected in a randomly mating population. While we found significant deviations from HWE and more clonal individuals than expected, our estimates of the Meselson effect were inconclusive due to limited sampling, and we found no evidence of LD. Therefore, the sexual/asexual status of Z. davisae populations remains uncertain.


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*Author for correspondence Phone: 413-545-2665 Fax: 413-545-4358 E-mail:


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Present address: Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, University of Arizona, 1127 E. James E. Rogers Way, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.



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