Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 631–638 | Cite as

Novel implications on the genetic structure of representative populations of Saccharina japonica (Phaeophyceae) in the Northwest Pacific as revealed by highly polymorphic microsatellite markers

  • Tifeng Shan
  • Norishige Yotsukura
  • Shaojun PangEmail author


Although the original Saccharina japonica populations in China are assumed to have been accidentally introduced from Japan in 1920s, few investigations have been performed to prove it. Genetic structure analysis is expected to shed light on this question. In the present study, 11 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers were employed to analyze the genetic structure of representative populations of S. japonica in the Northwest Pacific, including the four varieties from Japan. Populations from China had a much lower level of genetic diversity than the ones from Japan in terms of the number of alleles, private alleles and locally common alleles, and the values of heterozygosity, suggestive of the founder effect in the introduced populations. Both the Bayesian model-based and genetic distance-based analyses revealed three major clusters: (1) S. japonica var. japonica, var. religiosa, and var. ochotensis from Hokkaido, as well as the populations from Korea and Russia; (2) populations from China; and (3) var. diabolica. Saccharina japonica var. diabolica harbored the highest number of private alleles, with three of them having a frequency of 1.00 at three loci, which have the potential to be used as specific markers to distinguish this variety from others. Significant genetic differentiation was found between almost all the populations except for a few cultivated populations from China. Populations from China were most closely related to S. japonica var. japonica, which was in turn most close to var. religiosa and the Korean population. The microsatellite markers used in this study were shown to be polymorphic enough to decipher the subtle genetic structure of S. japonica, including the different varieties.


Molecular markers Genetic diversity Kelp Laminaria Simple sequence repeat Population genetics 



The authors would like to thank Nobu Nagai for his patient assistance in microsatellite genotyping procedure and Masumi Kounoe, Hiromi Kato, Seiko Tamano, and Tadashi Kawai for their kind help in sample collection and handling. Special thanks go to Xia Li for her constructive suggestions in data analysis. This study was supported by a Fellowship Program for Overseas Researchers granted to Tifeng Shan by Hokkaido University, the scientific and technological innovation project from Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (No. 2015ASKJ01), the Open Fund of Laboratory for Marine Biology and Biotechnology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (No. OF2015N010), the STS program from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a project from the National Infrastructure of Fishery Germplasm Resource (2016DKA30470).

Supplementary material

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Table S1 (DOCX 41 kb)
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Table S2 (DOCX 17 kb)
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Table S3 (DOCX 16 kb)
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Table S4 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tifeng Shan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norishige Yotsukura
    • 3
  • Shaojun Pang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Biology and BiotechnologyQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Field Science Center for Northern BiosphereHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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