Molecular genetic markers of intra- and interspecific divergence within starfish and sea urchins (Echinodermata)
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A fragment of the mitochondrial COI gene from isolates of several echinoderm species was sequenced. The isolates were from three species of starfish from the Asteriidae family (Asterias amurensis and Aphelasterias japonica collected in the Sea of Japan and Asterias rubens collected in the White Sea) and from the sea urchin Echinocardium cordatum (family Loveniidae) collected in the Sea of Japan. Additionally, regions including internal transcribed spacers and 5.8S rRNA (ITS1–5.8S rDNA–ITS2) were sequenced for the three studied starfish species. Phylogenetic analysis of the obtained COI sequences together with earlier determined homologous COI sequences from Ast. forbesii, Ast. rubens, and Echinocardium laevigaster from the North Atlantic and E. cordatum from the Yellow and North Seas (GenBank) placed them into strictly conspecific clusters with high bootstrap support (99% in all cases). Only two exceptions–Ast. rubens DQ077915 sequence placed with the Ast. forbesii cluster and Aph. japonica DQ992560 sequence placed with the Ast. amurensis cluster–were likely results of species misidentification. The intraspecific polymorphism for the COI gene within the Asteriidae family varied within a range of 0.2-0.9% as estimated from the genetic distances. The corresponding intrageneric and intergeneric values were 10.4-12.1 and 21.8-29.8%, respectively. The interspecific divergence for the COI gene in the sea urchin of Echinocardium genus (family Loveniidae) was significantly higher (17.1-17.7%) than in the starfish, while intergeneric divergence (14.6-25.7%) was similar to that in asteroids. The interspecific genetic distances for the nuclear transcribed sequences (ITS1–5.8S rDNA–ITS2) within the Asteriidae family were lower (3.1-4.5%), and the intergeneric distances were significantly higher (32.8-35.0%), compared to the corresponding distances for the COI gene. These results suggest that the investigated molecular-genetic markers could be used for segregation and identification of echinoderm species.
Keywordsmolecular evolution population speciation Echinodermata cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene internal transcribed spacers
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