Identifying Y-chromosomal diversity by long-template PCR.
ABSTRACT Comparing Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial haplotype variation is a promising approach to independently investigate paternal and maternal evolutionary histories in wild mammal populations. However, the difficulty of developing male-specific genetic markers, because of its distinctive genetic architecture and the general low level of polymorphisms observed on the Y chromosome, hampers usually an effective application of this approach. Here, we present a further method of the established Y chromosome conserved anchored tagged sequences strategy to develop Y-chromosomal markers by screening introns of male-specific region (MSY) genes for sequence polymorphisms. By applying long-template PCR using target species-specific primers, adequate sequence information of several kb in size can be obtained. We applied this method in the snow vole (Chionomys nivalis) and obtained 12.4 kb of male-specific sequence data for nine males representing four populations in the Swiss Alps. A total of 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms, four indels (> 1 bp) and one polymorphic microsatellite were identified in introns of the SMCY and DBY genes. Based on this information, we developed a Y-chromosomal genotyping assay and identified four different paternal lineages within one local snow vole population. The method we present is straightforward and as such will probably be suitable to detect adequate Y-chromosomal diversity in a wide range of mammalian species.