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Genetics. 1988 Mar; 118(3): 509–518.
PMCID: PMC1203304

Length and Restriction Site Heteroplasmy in the Mitochondrial DNA of American Shad (Alosa Sapidissima)


Restriction endonuclease analysis was used to assess mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in American shad (Alosa sapidissima) collected from 14 rivers ranging from Florida to Quebec. Two types of heteroplasmy were observed, one involving a major length polymorphism and the other a single restriction site. Shad mtDNA occurred in two principal size classes, 18.3 and 19.8 kb. Of 244 shad examined, 30 were heteroplasmic and carried both size classes of mtDNA in varying proportions; the remainder were homoplasmic for the smaller size class of mtDNA. The large mtDNA variant occurred most frequently at the southern end of the range, and except for two individuals from Nova Scotia, was not detected among shad from rivers north of the Delaware. In contrast, ten shad heteroplasmic for a SalI restriction site originated from rivers ranging from South Carolina to Nova Scotia. DNA mapping and hybridization experiments indicated that the length polymorphism is in the D-loop-containing region and consists of a tandemly repeated 1.5-kb DNA sequence occurring in two and three copies, respectively, in the two major size classes of shad mtDNA. Continuous length variation up to approximately 40 bp occurs among copies of the repeat both within and among individuals. Restriction site data support the conclusion that both forms of heteroplasmy in shad mtDNA have originated more than once.

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Selected References

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