mtDNA control region and D-HPLC analysis: a method to evaluate the mating system in Syngnathidae (Teleostei)
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Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been used extensively in animals for phylogenetic and population studies but it has been applied only occasionally to mating systems analysis, where nuclear markers are usually preferred. We used denaturing-high performance liquid chromatography (D-HPLC) to detect mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms to assess the genetic mating system in Syngnathus abaster. Our study of ten pregnant males, revealed polygyny in 30% of the males, who carried embryos originating from multiple females. In addition, 30% of the pregnant males carried embryos with the same mitochondrial haplotype. This is not sufficient to demonstrate polyandry but allows a rapid selection and a reduced sample size for further studies. In conclusion, the proposed technique is time- and cost-effective, allows the certain identification of polygyny and provides useful information to study polyandry.
KeywordsTriethylammonium Acetate Intrapopulation Variability Pregnant Male Genetic Mating System Apical Embryo
We thank Francesco Cucca and Daniela Contu (Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Università di Cagliari) for help in D-HPLC analysis, and Tiziana Lai for useful discussion on DNA extraction. This work was supported by Interreg III and MURST (ex-60%) grants to MC and PF.
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