Allozyme variation in global populations of striped mullet, Mugil cephalus (Pisces: Mugilidae)
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The striped mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758, is one of the few species of marine shore fish with a worldwide circumtropical distribution. Because of this distribution and the dependency of M. cephalus on coastal waters during various phases of its life cycle, as well as nearshore living habits, questions have been raised regarding levels of genetic divergence and gene flow among transoceanic populations. To cast more light on this, allozyme variation at 27 presumptive gene loci was investigated in ten globally diverse populations. The observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.018 (Hawaii) to 0.081 (Florida), averaging 0.050. The proportion of polymorphic loci showed a similar trend. Several populations were characterised by fixed allelic differences. Estimated gene diversities were very high, the allele frequency variation among populations was found to be 68%; genetic distances reached 0.242, with an average of 0.117. Estimated rates of gene flow were high among Mediterranean populations (Nm = 7.26), and between Mediterranean and East Atlantic populations (Nm= 2.86), but extremely low between non-contiguous populations within the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, where Nm ranged from 0.03 to 0.05.
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