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PLoS One. 2013 May 22;8(5):e63558. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063558. Print 2013.

Multi-genetic marker approach and spatio-temporal analysis suggest there is a single panmictic population of swordfish Xiphias gladius in the Indian Ocean.

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  • 1Délégation Océan Indien, IFREMER, Le Port, France. muthsdelphine@yahoo.fr


Genetic population structure of swordfish Xiphias gladius was examined based on 2231 individual samples, collected mainly between 2009 and 2010, among three major sampling areas within the Indian Ocean (IO; twelve distinct sites), Atlantic (two sites) and Pacific (one site) Oceans using analysis of nineteen microsatellite loci (n = 2146) and mitochondrial ND2 sequences (n = 2001) data. Sample collection was stratified in time and space in order to investigate the stability of the genetic structure observed with a special focus on the South West Indian Ocean. Significant AMOVA variance was observed for both markers indicating genetic population subdivision was present between oceans. Overall value of F-statistics for ND2 sequences confirmed that Atlantic and Indian Oceans swordfish represent two distinct genetic stocks. Indo-Pacific differentiation was also significant but lower than that observed between Atlantic and Indian Oceans. However, microsatellite F-statistics failed to reveal structure even at the inter-oceanic scale, indicating that resolving power of our microsatellite loci was insufficient for detecting population subdivision. At the scale of the Indian Ocean, results obtained from both markers are consistent with swordfish belonging to a single unique panmictic population. Analyses partitioned by sampling area, season, or sex also failed to identify any clear structure within this ocean. Such large spatial and temporal homogeneity of genetic structure, observed for such a large highly mobile pelagic species, suggests as satisfactory to consider swordfish as a single panmictic population in the Indian Ocean.

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