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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Sep;77(9):5385-9.

Maintenance of an aminopeptidase allele frequency cline by natural selection.


The product of the Lap locus in the marine bivalve Mytilus edulis is a neutral, membrane-associated aminopeptidase that is primarily localized on intestinal microvilli and in digestive cell lysosomes. Natural populations are genetically differentiated at the Lap locus between areas of differing salinity. A steep (0.55-0.15) allele frequency cline connects differentiated populations between the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. We demonstrate an annual gene flow/mortality cycle in cline populations whereby gene frequencies after mortality are correlated with salinity and enzyme activity. The cline is spatially and temporally unstable in immigrants, but stable in residents after mortality. Mortality is nonrandom with regard to the Lap locus; genotype-dependent properties of the aminopeptidase enzyme apparently led to a differential rate of the utilizaiton of nutrient reserves because selected genotypes exhibited an increased rate of tissue weight loss. Aminopeptidase genotypes are differentially adapted to different temperatures and salinities, which provides a mechanism for the relationship among biochemical, physiological, and population phenotypes.

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