DNA sequences of the mitochondrial COI gene have low levels of divergence among deep-sea octocorals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa)
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- France, S.C. & Hoover, L.L. Hydrobiologia (2002) 471: 149. doi:10.1023/A:1016517724749
We are analyzing genetic diversity in deep-seamount octocorals with the ultimate goal of studying the effect of retention and dispersal of larvae on genetic population structure. Here we report on the sequence diversity of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene among 11 species. Uncorrected pairwise sequence divergences ranged from 0.4–10.3% for comparisons among species spanning the intrageneric to interordinal levels. Relative to other invertebrates, these divergences are very low, suggesting that COI may not be useful as a genetic marker for studying dispersal among deep-sea octocoral populations. Possible explanations for the reduced rates of divergence observed include a lower rate of evolution for octocoral mitochondrial genomes and the presence of a gene, mtMSH, which may code for a mitochondrial DNA mismatch-repair system. We report the finding of mtMSH in three deep-sea octocorals (Acanthogorgia sp., Corallium ducale, and Paramuricea sp.), which brings the total published observations of this gene to six species, all in the subclass Octocorallia.