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Genetic differentiation and hybridization in two naturally occurring sympatric trout Salmo spp. forms from a small karstic lake

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Abstract

In this study, multiple molecular markers [genotyping of 12 nuclear microsatellite loci and the protein-coding gene ldh-c1* plus sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region] were employed to investigate the genetic structure of the two trout forms, Salmo cettii and Salmo fibreni, inhabiting Lake Posta Fibreno, central Italy. The two forms were found to share a unique mtDNA haplotype, belonging to a widespread Mediterranean haplogroup (AD). Bayesian clustering analyses showed that these two forms correspond to well-defined autochthonous gene pools. Genetic introgression between the two gene pools, however, was observed, whose frequency appears to correlate with the environmental features of the spawning sites. The interplay of selection for the spawning sites, philopatry and natural selection can be argued to maintain genetic differentiation despite the lack of complete reproductive isolation.

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