The absence of genotypic diversity in a successful parthenogenetic invader
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Invasiveness might depend on the ability of genetically diverse populations of exotic species to adapt to novel environments, which suggests a paradox since exotic species are expected to lose genetic diversity when introduced. The apparent need for genetic diversity is particularly important for exotic species that lack bi-parental reproduction and genetic recombination. We used genetic marker studies to determine the genotypic diversity of invasive US populations of the clonal New Zealand mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). We report here on a three-pronged survey of allozyme, microsatellite DNA, and mitochondrial DNA genetic markers of invasive populations with a focus on the western US. Combining the three types of genetic markers, we discovered four distinct genotypes of P. antipodarum. These results show that only one genotype (US 1) occupied the vast majority of the western US range, and a second occurred in the Great Lakes in the eastern US (US 2). Two other genotypes occurred in the western US (US 1a and US 3), but were restricted to populations near the presumed source of invasion in the middle Snake River, ID. These results suggest that P. antipodarum spread across a broad geographic range in the western US from a single introduced source population, and that the populations are comprised of a single clonal lineage.
KeywordsGenetic diversity Biological invasions Invasiveness Evolvability Parthenogenesis Potamopyrgus antipodarum
We would like to thank Angie Kotchetova, Kendra Lyons, Jennifer Thorson, and Jonathan Finger for help with molecular genotyping, and people too numerous to mention for collecting and sending specimens. Funding was provided by NSF DEB 0296049 and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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