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Genetic variability and population structure of the Japanese sea cucumber, Apostichopus japonicus Selenka, 1867 revealed by microsatellites in Peter the Great Gulf, Sea of Japan


Genetic diversity and population structure of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus from four sampling locations in Peter the Great Gulf, Sea of Japan, were studied using 10 microsatellite loci. In total, 108 alleles were detected among the 159 individuals of sea cucumber. The average Ho and He for all populations per all loci was 0.525 and 0.699, respectively (accounting for null alleles). Departure from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was observed at each locus. On average, values of the inbreeding coefficients were above zero, which is connected with heterozygote deficiency. Samples were separated into two groups during cluster analysis. The study of genetic differentiation between samples revealed a high level of heterogeneity that can be explained by several factors: stochastic processes during larval settlement in a certain location, and differences in selection pressures on quantitative trait loci and the linked microsatellite loci. To further understand the mechanisms contributing to this heterogeneity and population structure, cause and effect relationships between genetic variability and environmental conditions need to be studied.

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We are grateful to the Laboratory of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Aquatic Organisms, Institute of the World Ocean, Far Eastern Federal University, Russia, for providing materials and equipment for our research.

We would also like to express sincere gratitude to all reviewers for valuable suggestions, constructive criticism that helped us to improve it, and for taking the time to read and review our work.


No funding was received for the present study.

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Correspondence to Viktoriia D. Yagodina.

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Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable. The study is compliant with CBD and Nagoya protocols.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

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VB supervised the whole study. VYa performed molecular analysis and statistical support. EI and VYa wrote the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Communicated by S. Stöhr

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Yagodina, V.D., Bondar, E.I. & Brykov, V.A. Genetic variability and population structure of the Japanese sea cucumber, Apostichopus japonicus Selenka, 1867 revealed by microsatellites in Peter the Great Gulf, Sea of Japan. Mar. Biodivers. 52, 40 (2022).

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  • Molecular markers
  • Microsatellite loci
  • Genetic diversity
  • Population differentiation