• gene genealogy;
  • haplotype and nucleotide diversities;
  • mitochondrial genome;
  • Pacific salmon;
  • PCR–RFLP analysis


Seven segments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), comprising 97% of the mitochondrial genome, were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and examined for restriction site variation using 13 restriction endonucleases in three species of Pacific salmon: pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), chum (O. keta) and sockeye (O. nerka) salmon. The distribution of variability across the seven mtDNA segments differed substantially among species. Little similarity in the distribution of variable restriction sites was found even between the mitochondrial genomes of the even- and odd-year broodlines of pink salmon. Significantly different levels of nucleotide diversity were detected among three groups of genes: six NADH-dehydrogenase genes had the highest; two rRNA genes had the lowest; and a group that included genes for ATPase and cytochrome oxidase subunits, the cytochrome b gene, and the control region had intermediate levels of nucleotide diversity. Genealogies of mtDNA haplotypes were reconstructed for each species, based on the variation in all mtDNA segments. The contributions of variation within different segments to resolution of the genealogical trees were compared within each species. With the exception of sockeye salmon, restriction site data from different genome segments tended to produce rather different trees (and hence rather different genealogies). In the majority of cases, genealogical information in different segments of mitochondrial genome was additive rather than congruent. This finding has a relevance to phylogeographic studies of other organisms and emphasizes the importance of not relying on a limited segment of the mtDNA genome to derive a phylogeographic structure.