, Volume 122, Issue 4, pp 503-509

Population variation in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of the orange roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus and the hoki Macruronus novaezelandiae

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To describe the genetic relationship among regional populations of two commercially valuable species of marine fish, the orange roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus and the hoki Macruronus novaezelandiae, the mitochondrial (mt) DNA haplotypes of 59 individuals were defined by direct sequencing of the cytochrome b gene. Samples of orange roughy were collected on four fishing grounds around New Zealand, one off the west coast of Tasmania and one near South Africa from 1990–1991. Samples from hoki were collected on three fishing grounds around New Zealand and one off Tasmania during the same period. An average of 252 nucleotides were sequenced from each of 32 orange roughy and an average of 372 nucleotides from each of 27 hoki. Sequence variation allowed the definition of 9 unique orange roughy haplotypes and 5 hoki haplotypes. Genetic variation, as measured by both average sequence divergence and haplotype diversity, was high in the orange roughy (nucleotide diversity=0.590%, haplotype diversity=0.782) and low in the hoki (nucleotide diversity=0.076%, haplotype diversity=0.279) relative to a similar survey of the Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. Differences in haplotype frequencies of orange roughy from New Zealand, Tasmania and South Africa were not significant, and the most common haplotype was found in similar frequencies in these three geographically distant regions. Differences in haplotype frequencies between the New Zealand and Tasmanian samples of hoki were significant, suggesting restricted gene flow between these two regions. The contrasting patterns of low but regionally subdivided genetic variation in the hoki versus high but geographically undifferentiated genetic variation in the orange roughy may be attributed to the low fecundity, slow maturation and long lifespan of the orange roughy relative to the hoki.

Communicated by M.F. Strathmann, Friday Harbor