Genetic characteristics of sei whales, Balaenoptera borealis, inhabiting the western North Pacific were analyzed at 17 microsatellite loci in a total of 89 whales obtained from the area between 37°N–45°N and 147°E–166°E in 2002 (N = 39) and 2003 (N = 50). All the loci analyzed were polymorphic over the samples, some of the loci had more than 10 alleles, indicating a high level of genetic variation within samples. No significant deviation from the expected Hardy–Weinberg genotypic proportion was observed at the 17 loci in the samples. No evidence of genetic heterogeneity in allele frequencies was observed between sexes within samples as well as between the two temporally different samples, indicating a single population of sei whales inhabiting the western North Pacific. We finally tested and demonstrated that the population appeared not to suffer from genetic bottleneck as a result of population decline from past commercial whaling.
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We thank researchers and crew members participating in the 2002 and 2003 JARPNII commissioned by the Government of Japan for their effort in collecting the samples used in this study. Thanks also go to H. Oikawa and S. Azumi for their assistance in DNA extractions, and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.
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Kanda, N., Goto, M. & Pastene, L.A. Genetic Characteristics of Western North Pacific Sei Whales, Balaenoptera borealis, as Revealed by Microsatellites. Mar Biotechnol 8, 86–93 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10126-005-5130-1