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Proc Biol Sci. Feb 22, 1998; 265(1393): 303–308.
PMCID: PMC1688887

Molecular genetic evidence for parallel evolution in a marine gastropod, Littorina subrotundata.


Littorina subrotundata from wave-exposed rocky shores differ consistently in shell and radula morphology from those found in wave-protected salt-marshes. To determine if the two morphological forms of this gastropod represent separate species, clades, or ecotypes, DNA sequencing and single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis were used to assay variation in a 480 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Several nested analyses of molecular variance (AMOVA) were then performed to test if grouping populations by geographical region or habitat type better explained the distribution of cytochrome-b haplotypes among some northeastern Pacific populations. The analysis by geographic region resulted in a significant variance component that explained 53% of the variance, whereas the analysis by habitat type was not significant. These results, along with previous studies showing that the differences in shell morphology among different forms have a heritable component, suggest that the two forms are ecotypes and not separate species or clades as had been previously proposed. These results also imply that each ecotype has evolved independently in each geographic area and that the morphological similarity of individuals from the same habitat type is most likely the result of parallel evolution.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society


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