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Optimization of a Suite of Microsatellite Markers for Nocomis leptocephalus (Bluehead Chub) and Genetic Characterization of Two Populations in South Carolina

Elizabeth L. Cushman1, Kimberly L. Kanapeckas Métris1,2, Yoichiro Kanno3,4, Kasey C. Pregler3,4, Brandon K. Peoples3, and Tanya L. Darden1,*

1South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Hollings Marine Laboratory, 331 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412. 2Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson University, 130 McGinty Court, Clemson, SC 29634.3Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, 261 Lehotsky Hall, Clemson, SC 29634.4Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.*Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 19, Issue 2 (2020): 192–204

Nocomis leptocephalus (Bluehead Chub) is a minnow native to the southeastern United States that constructs nests used by many freshwater fishes. No microsatellite markers have been published for Bluehead Chub, and information on genetic structure and diversity is sparse. We evaluated microsatellites from other leuciscid species for use with Bluehead Chub and created a panel of markers that has sufficient power for investigations of population structure and can differentiate between Bluehead Chub and Notropis lutipinnis (Yellowfin Shiner) eggs. We applied the panel to Bluehead Chub samples from 2 locations in South Carolina, finding these populations are genetically differentiated with high levels of genetic diversity. Our marker panel can improve our understanding of population dynamics of Bluehead Chub and allow for informed conservation recommendations.

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