The seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus reaches its highest abundance in confined environments, where it has unique biological and ecological traits that suggest significant genetic differentiation among populations. In the present study, we aimed to reveal the genetic structure of this species by analysing eight microsatellite loci and a mitochondrial DNA region (cytochrome b) of eight populations from the Central–Western Mediterranean Sea, including lagoon sites. Levels of genetic diversity, as measured by the total number of alleles, number of private alleles, allelic richness and heterozygosity, ranged from low to moderate. The overall value of inbreeding was high, indicating a deficiency in heterozygotes. The haplotype network had a star-like construction, with the most common haplotype present in all populations. Data from the two molecular markers congruently displayed a similar pattern and revealed low genetic differentiation, notwithstanding predictions based on species traits. The observed genetic structure is probably the result of both historical population demographic events and current gene flow. The investigated lagoons, however, revealed a unique genetic profile, which is especially highlighted by the Taranto population. At this site, the results also showed altered values of observed/expected heterozygosity and allelic richness, a characteristic of marginal populations. Our study suggests that lagoon populations should be managed as distinct genetic units.

Genetic structure of the long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, in the Central–Western Mediterranean Sea

Alessia Cariani;Alice Ferrari;Fausto Tinti;
2020

Abstract

The seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus reaches its highest abundance in confined environments, where it has unique biological and ecological traits that suggest significant genetic differentiation among populations. In the present study, we aimed to reveal the genetic structure of this species by analysing eight microsatellite loci and a mitochondrial DNA region (cytochrome b) of eight populations from the Central–Western Mediterranean Sea, including lagoon sites. Levels of genetic diversity, as measured by the total number of alleles, number of private alleles, allelic richness and heterozygosity, ranged from low to moderate. The overall value of inbreeding was high, indicating a deficiency in heterozygotes. The haplotype network had a star-like construction, with the most common haplotype present in all populations. Data from the two molecular markers congruently displayed a similar pattern and revealed low genetic differentiation, notwithstanding predictions based on species traits. The observed genetic structure is probably the result of both historical population demographic events and current gene flow. The investigated lagoons, however, revealed a unique genetic profile, which is especially highlighted by the Taranto population. At this site, the results also showed altered values of observed/expected heterozygosity and allelic richness, a characteristic of marginal populations. Our study suggests that lagoon populations should be managed as distinct genetic units.
BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY
Tamara Lazic, Cataldo Pierri, Frine Cardone, Alessia Cariani, Paolo Colangelo, Giuseppe Corriero, Alice Ferrari, Marinella Marzano, Silvia Messinetti, Graziano Pesole, Gabriele Senczuk, Monica Santamaria, Fausto Tinti, Michele Gristina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/769869
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