Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 813–820 | Cite as

Population genetic structures of the fissiparous seastar Coscinasterias acutispina in the Sea of Japan

  • S. HaramotoEmail author
  • M. Komatsu
  • Y. Yamazaki
Research Article


The morphological characteristics and the population genetic structures of the fissiparous seastar Coscinasterias acutispina were investigated for eight sites in the Sea of Japan in order to clarify the presence of sexual and asexual reproduction. Morphological observation based on arm length showed that fission was common at all eight sites examined, indicating the likely production of clonal individuals. A random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker was used to detect clones arising by fission and to assess gene flow among sites. A simulation approach using RAPD data revealed the presence of clonal individuals at almost all sites, suggesting the existence of asexual reproduction. The result of phylogenetic analysis according to RAPD genotype showed no relationship between genetic and geographic distances. Considering the limited movement ability of seastar species during the adult phase, these observations suggest the existence of marked gene flow among sites, due to dispersal of planktonic larvae produced by sexual reproduction. These observations suggest that multi-locus genotypic compositions depend on the relative amounts of recruitment from sexual and asexual reproduction in each population.


Sexual Reproduction Population Genetic Structure Asexual Reproduction Planktonic Phase Subtidal Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr. M. Nozaki of the Niigata University, Dr. D. Fujita of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and S. Honjo of the Takeno Snorkel Center, for collecting our samples. We are also grateful to Dr. A. Kijima of the Tohoku University, Dr. R. Yokoyama of the Toyama University and Dr. Y. Seto of the Prefectural office of Toyama, for their helpful suggestions. We also thank the members of the Regulatory Biology Group at the Toyama University and Mr. T. Haramoto for their kind support during the course of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceToyama UniversityToyamaJapan

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