Evolutionary and taxonomic relationships among Far-Eastern salmonid fishes inferred from mitochondrial DNA divergence



Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) restriction analysis was used to examine the evolutionary and taxonomic relationships among 11 taxa of the subfamily Salmoninae. The genera Brachymystax and Hucho were closely related, diverging by sequence divergence estimates of 3.1%. Because the mtDNA sequence divergence between blunt- and sharp-snouted forms of Brachymystax (2.24%) was similar to divergence level of Brachymystax and Hucho, then taking into account the distinct morphological, ecological and allozyme differences between them, it is possible to recognize these forms as two separate species. The subgenus Parahucho formed a very distinct group differing by 6.35–7.08% (sequence divergence estimate) from both Brachymystax and Hucho and must be considered as a valid genus. The UPGMA and neighbour-joined phenograms showed that the five genera studied are divided into two main groupings: (1) Hucho, Brachymystax and Salvelinus; and (2) Oncorhynchus and Parahucho species. The mtDNA sequence divergence estimates between these groupings were about 8.1%. However, the subsequent bootstrap analysis of mtDNA RFLP data did not support the monophyly of the latter grouping. The concordance of morphological and mtDNA phylogenetic patterns is discussed.