- Expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries were generated from two populations of the red alga Furcellaria lumbricalis (Hudson) Lamouroux originating from different environmental conditions (the Atlantic Ocean and the brackish Baltic Sea), compared with each other and used to guide the design of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. The species is endemic to the northern Atlantic, while in the low-salinity conditions of the Baltic Sea it occurs at the margin of its distribution and is presently threatened by eutrophication.
- Primers were developed for 13 transcribed regions, five of which were found to be variable at population level, containing a total of 20 SNP sites, which were then utilized in population genetic analyses on F. lumbricalis originating from different geographical locations and salinity conditions in northern and western Europe, and the results were compared with previous data of putatively neutral and adaptive (EST-derived) microsatellites.
- Although no conclusive evidence of selection was detected in neutrality tests, the level of genetic differentiation based on SNP variation (FST = 0.522; but 0.398 and 0.095 for EST-derived and putatively neutral microsatellites, respectively) is so great that the role of selection is evident. The Bayesian structure analysis supported the view of great differentiation between marine and brackish populations.
- Although the new primers were designed for F. lumbricalis, the same gene regions may have utility in population genetic and phylogenetic studies across red algal species.
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