Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 27, Issue 5–6, pp 303–312 | Cite as

Biochemical correlates of genetic variation in marine lower invertebrates

  • A. M. Sole-Cava
  • J. P. Thorpe


In this paper extensive data on enzyme variation in 23 species of coelenterates and sponges were used to investigate the possible correlation of levels of genetic variation with various parameters of enzyme molecular structure and function. The data provide an opportunity not only to look for such correlations for the first time in lower invertebrates, but also to study organisms with far higher average levels of genetic variability than those used in any previous work. A clear inverse relationship was found between enzyme subunit number and levels of polymorphism, with monomers being more variable than dimers or tetramers. No significant difference in polymorphism could be found in enzymes of the functional groups I and II of Gillespie and Langley (1974). Regulatory enzymes appeared to be significantly more polymorphic than nonregulatory enzymes, but a significant relationship was observed between regulatory power and subunit structure which could bias this result. The results suggest that both neutralist and selectionist ideas may have a useful role to play in the understanding of the factors which can influence or limit levels of genetic variation.

Key words

heterozygosity neutralism selectionism Porifera Coelenterata enzyme structure enzyme function 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Sole-Cava
    • 1
  • J. P. Thorpe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine BiologyThe University of Liverpool, Port Erin Marine Laboratory, Port Erin, Isle of ManUK

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