• cox2;
  • cox3;
  • Cutleria cylindrica;
  • genetic diversity;
  • introduction;
  • Phaeophyceae

Cutleria cylindrica Okamura was described from Japan in 1902 and has been reported only from northwestern Asia until its relatively recent discovery in California, USA, and Baja California, Mexico. To clarify the genetic relationships within and among the disjunct populations, we carried out a molecular phylogenetic study, as well as the examination of sex ratio and the life-history patterns, of populations in Japan, Korea, and California. Based on the DNA sequences of mitochondrial genes cox2, cox3, the open reading frame (ORF) region, and the spacer between cox3 and ORF, a total of 23 haplotypes were detected in the 85 individuals from 20 localities in Japan, Korea, and California. All localities in Japan and Korea included multiple haplotypes, but only a single haplotype was found in California. There was a positive relationship between distance and genetic divergence in Japan and Korea. The single haplotype found in California was the same as one occurring in Japan (Aomori Pref. and Fukuoka Pref.) and Korea (Daedaepo, Pusan). Both male and female gametophytes were distributed in most northeastern Asian populations. Only female gametophytes, developing parthenogenetically from female gametes, were found in California and Aomori Pref., Japan. On the basis of these results, we conclude that the disjunct population of C. cylindrica in California originated from a relatively recent introduction from Japan and shares its origin with the parthenogenetic population in the Tsugaru Strait.