Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) markers as a tool for ant phylogeography. Due to their local abundance, diversity of adaptations and worldwide distribution, ants are a classic example of adaptive radiation. Despite this evolutionary and ecological importance, phylogeographical studies on ants have relied largely on mitochondrial markers. In this study we design and test exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) markers, which can be widely used to uncover ant intraspecific variation. Candidate markers were obtained through screening the available ant genomes for unlinked conserved exonic regions interspersed with introns. A subset of 15 markers was tested in vitro and showed successful amplification in several phylogenetically distant ant species. These markers represent an important step forward in ant phylogeography and population genetics, allowing for more extensive characterization of variation in ant nuclear DNA without the need to develop species-specific markers.
- Molecular markers
- Population genetics