Mitochondrial DNA variation in Atlantic capelin, Mallotus villosus: a comparison of restriction and sequence analyses


  • This project began while T. Birt and V. Friesen were doctoral students working in the laboratory of W. Davidson. Studies conducted in the Davidson Lab are primarily focused on molecular evolution and population structure in a variety of marine vertebrates. V. Friesen and T'. Birt have recently established a laboratory at Queen's University (Kingston, Canada). They are pursuing studies of population structure, mechanisms of speciation and molecular systematics of birds, mammals and fishes. J. Green works primarily on the ecology of marine fishes. R. Birt is a computer software specialist.


Divergence estimates were calculated using restriction analysis and cytochrome-b sequences for capelin Mallotus villosus mitochondrial genomes sampled from Newfoundland and Norwegian populations. On average, pairwise divergence values based on cytochrome-b sequences were 2.7 times greater than those based on restriction data. Since the rate of evolution in the cytochrome-b gene is low, it appears that restriction analysis underestimated divergence values, possibly due to limited sensitivity of this method when variable nucleotide positions are not randomly distributed. Mitochondrial genotypes were not shared among the two populations.