Mitochondrial DNA differentiation between two forms of trout Salmo letnica, endemic to the Balkan Lake Ohrid, reflects their reproductive isolation


J. Sell, Fax: +48 58 3058110; E-mail:


Mitochondrial haplotype diversity in sympatric populations of Ohrid trout, Salmo letnica was investigated by polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis of the mtDNA control region and ND1, ND3/4, ND5/6 segments. A 310 bp fragment at the 5′ end, and a 340–572 bp fragment at the 3′ end of the control region were sequenced from representatives of the populations studied. Based on pairwise comparison of the sequences, five new haplotypes were identified plus one identical with the brown trout Andalusian haplotype from the southern Iberian Peninsula. The combination of both RFLP and sequence data sets yielded a total of 10 composite haplotypes. A high degree of genetic subdivision between S. letnica typicus and S. letnica aestivalis populations was observed. The notion of a sympatric origin for the two morphs is discussed. Length variation of the mtDNA control region due to the presence of an 82 bp unit, tandemly repeated one to four times, in the region between the conserved sequence block-3 (CSB-3) and the gene for phenylalanine tRNA is reported. Further, we demonstrate that a single duplication of the approximately 82 bp repeat unit is a common element of the salmonid mitochondrial control region. The unique genetic structure of Ohrid trout represents a highly valuable genetic resource that deserves appropriate management and conservation.