, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 177-182
Date: 10 Dec 2003

Paternity analysis in the Antarctic brooding sea urchin Abatus nimrodi. A pilot study

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The genus Abatus (Echinoidea: Spatangoida: Schizasteridae), endemic to the Southern Ocean, consists of several species which, like many other Antarctic marine invertebrates, brood their offspring. The modality of fertilization is not known in these species, whose direct observation and sampling are difficult. Parentage analyses by means of molecular markers may help to gain information on this stage of the life-cycle. In this pilot study, we analysed a brooding female and her offspring with dominant molecular markers—RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA). We established that each cohort present in the brooding pouches, i.e. gastrulae and juveniles, originated from at least two distinct father genotypes. Our original method of analysis of dominant marker data should have vast applications since it allows one to test, not only (1) the hypothesis that the progeny of a given mother originates from a single father, but also (2) the temporal stability of the paternal gene pool.