Inverse Correlation of Population Similarity and Introduction Date for Invasive Ascidians

TitleInverse Correlation of Population Similarity and Introduction Date for Invasive Ascidians
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsSilva, N., & Smith W. C.
Secondary AuthorsStajich, J. E.
JournalPLoS ONE
Date Published6/2008

The genomes of many marine invertebrates, including the purple sea urchin and the solitary ascidians Ciona intestinalis and Ciona savignyi, show exceptionally high levels of heterozygosity, implying that these populations are highly polymorphic. Analysis of the C. savignyi genome found little evidence to support an elevated mutation rate, but rather points to a large population size contributing to the polymorphism level. In the present study, the relative genetic polymorphism levels in sampled populations of ten different ascidian species were determined using a similarity index generated by AFLP analysis. The goal was to determine the range of polymorphism within the populations of different species, and to uncover factors that may contribute to the high level of polymorphism. We observe that, surprisingly, the levels of polymorphism within these species show a negative correlation with the reported age of invasive populations, and that closely related species show substantially different levels of genetic polymorphism. These findings show exceptions to the assumptions that invasive species start with a low level of genetic polymorphism that increases over time and that closely related species have similar levels of genetic polymorphism.

Short TitlePLoS ONE