Genetic characterisation of Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. in North West Africa using nuclear DNA markers

TitleGenetic characterisation of Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. in North West Africa using nuclear DNA markers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsDaguin, C., & Borsa P.
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Pagination55 - 65

The genetic relationships among Mytilus galloprovincialis populations over their range in the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean were investigated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified nuclear DNA markers. We used long-range polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis for characterising an intron-length polymorphism at the actin gene locus mac-1 in Mytilus. Sharp resolution was obtained with this technique, which revealed a high level of size polymorphism. It also allowed to discriminate between M. galloprovincialis and M. edulis. A sample of the Padstow mussel - reported to be M. galloprovincialis according to allozyme and morphological data - exhibited allele frequencies that were rather intermediate between M. galloprovincialis and M. edulis. We compared Mytilus samples from the northwestern African coasts (Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania) to reference M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis samples, and to the Padstow mussel. The northwestern African Mytilus were M. galloprovincialis as formerly suggested on the basis of morphology and geographic location. Significant differentiation was observed between M. galloprovincialis from northwestern Africa and the reference M. galloprovincialis sample from the Mediterranean Sea, but not with M. galloprovincialis from a northeastern Atlantic population, a result that is consistent with previous allozyme- and mitochondrial DNA-based reports of an abrupt genetic change between northeastern Atlantic/Alboran Sea and western Mediterranean M. galloprovincialis populations. Slight heterozygote deficiencies were possibly present within each sample as usually reported in bivalve populations. Additional PCRs using a second pair of primers indicated that this could hardly be explained by the occurrence of ‘null' alleles that would have resulted from mis-priming during DNA amplification.