We identified the first set of microsatellites for use in
the rock firefinch (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis).
First, we tested existing passerine microsatellite loci
for cross-species amplification success in a small
sample of rock firefinches and identified 10 loci
that were seemingly polymorphic and easy to score.
Secondly, we developed and characterized three
microsatellite loci de novo from the rock firefinch
genome. In a larger sample of individuals from three
populations, one locus initially interpreted as polymorphic
was monomorphic. Among the polymorphic
loci, the number of alleles ranged between 2 and 15
and the expected heterozygosity between 0.08 and
0.91 within populations. Two loci had high estimated
null allele frequency in at least one population. The
microsatellites amplified very well (80% success) in
five other African finch species and each locus was
confirmed as polymorphic in at least one species. We
conclude that these microsatellite markers will be
useful for population genetic studies in the rock
firefinch and other closely related African finches.