Iglesias-Rodriguez, M.D., Schofield, O.M., Batley, J., Medlin, L.K. and Hayes, P.K.
Intraspecific genetic diversity in the marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae): the use of microsatellite analysis in marine phytoplankton population studies.
Journal of Phycology, 42, (3), . (doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2006.00231.x).
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Using primer pairs for seven previously described
microsatellite loci and three newly characterized
microsatellite loci from the coccolithophore
Emiliania huxleyi (Lohm.) Hay and Mohler, we assessed
genetic variation within this species. Analysis
of microsatellite length variants (alleles) was
conducted for 85 E. huxleyi isolates representative
of different ocean basins. These results revealed
high intraspecific genetic variability within the
E. huxleyi species concept. Pairwise comparison of
a 1992 Coastal Fjord group (FJ92) (n541) and a
North East Atlantic (NEA) group (n521), using FST
as an indicator of genetic differentiation, revealed
moderate genetic differentiation (FST50.09894;
P50; significance level50.05). Gene flow between
the FJ92 and NEA groups was estimated to be low,
which is in agreement with the moderate levels of
genetic differentiation revealed by the microsatellite
data. A genetic assignment method that uses
genotype likelihoods to draw inference about the
groups to which individuals belong was tested. Using
FJ92 and NEA as reference groups, we observed
that all the E. huxleyi groups tested against the two
reference groups were unrelated to them. On a global
biogeographical scale, E. huxleyi populations
appear to be highly genetically diverse. Our findings
raise the question of whether such a high degree
of intraspecific genetic diversity in coccolithophores translates into variability in ecological function.
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