Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation Suggests the Lack of Genetic Heterogeneity in the Adriatic and Ionian Stocks of Sardina pilchardus
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A genetic stock structure analysis of 11 sardine samples from the Adriatic Sea and Ionian neighboring area was carried out through sequence variation analysis of a 307-bp cytochrome b gene fragment in order to identify self-recruiting units in the Adriatic Sardina pilchardus stock. The overall lack of genetic subdivision among samples detected by analysis of molecular variance, pairwise Φst values, and the exact test of population differentiation indicates this sardine stock is part of a larger self-recruiting population whose boundaries are larger than the investigated area. This conclusion is in agreement with preliminary allozymic and mitochondrial DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism data, but contradicts the previous identification of 2 subpopulations of sardines in the Adriatic Sea argued on morphologic differences, which could be rather attributed to different hydrographic or ecologic conditions occurring in different areas of the Adriatic Sea. The reduced gene flow observed between Adriatic-Ionian and Spanish sardine geographic samples (P < 0.001) suggests that reproductively isolated populations of sardines may occur in the Mediterranean Sea.
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