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Heredity (Edinb). 2002 Dec;89(6):417-24.

Extensive population subdivision of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) around the Iberian Peninsula indicated by microsatellite DNA variation.

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  • 1Xenética Evolutiva Molecular, Facultade de Ciencias-Bioloxía, Universidade de Vigo, E-36200 Vigo, Spain.


The Atlantic Ocean-Mediterranean Sea junction has been proposed as an important phylogeographical area on the basis of concordance in genetic patterns observed at allozyme, mtDNA and microsatellite DNA markers in several marine species. This study presents microsatellite DNA data for a mobile invertebrate species in this area, the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, allowing comparison of this relatively new class of DNA marker with previous allozyme results, and examination of the relative effects on gene flow of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Almería-Oran oceanographic front. Genetic variation at seven microsatellite loci screened in six samples from NE Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of the Iberian Peninsula was high (mean Na = 9.6, mean H(e) = 0.725). Microsatellites detected highly significant subpopulation structuring (F(ST)= 0.061; R(ST) = 0.104), consistent with an isolation-by-distance model of low levels of gene flow. Distinct and significant clinal changes in allele frequencies between Atlantic and Mediterranean samples found at five out of seven loci, however indicate these results might be also consistent with an alternative model of secondary contact and introgression between previously isolated and divergent populations, as previously proposed for other marine species from the Atlantic-Mediterranean area. A pronounced 'step' change between SW Mediterranean samples associated with the Almería-Oran front suggests this oceanographic feature may represent a contemporary barrier to gene flow.

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