Mitochondrial haplotype diversity in seven Portuguese populations of brown trout, Salmo trutta L., was investigated by sequencing the 5′ end of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region. Five new haplotypes were described for this species, each two to three mutational steps distant from the common north Atlantic haplotype. Significant population subdivision of mtDNA haplotypes was also apparent. Based on these results, as well as on published data describing the distribution of both mtDNA haplotypes and allozyme alleles throughout Europe, the postglacial recolonization of northern Europe was re-evaluated. It is argued that the available data do not support the contribution of two major glacial refugia (southwest Atlantic and Ponto-Caspian Basin) to this postglacial recolonization, as proposed in a recently published model. The unique genetic architecture of Portuguese brown trout within the Atlantic-basin clade of this species represents a highly valuable genetic resource that should be protected from introgression with nonendemic strains of hatchery fish.
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