Sympatric populations of the highly cross-fertile coral species Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea are genetically distinct

Marquez, L.M., van Oppen, M.J.H., Willis, B.L., and Miller, D.J. (2002) Sympatric populations of the highly cross-fertile coral species Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea are genetically distinct. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 269 (1497). pp. 1289-1294.

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Abstract

High cross-fertilization rates in vitro and non-monophyletic patterns in molecular phylogenies challenge the taxonomic status of species in the coral genus Acropora. We present data from eight polymorphic allozyme loci that indicate small, but significant, differentiation between sympatric populations of Acropora cytherea and Acropora hyacinthus (FST = 0.025–0.068, p , 0.05), a pair of acroporid corals with very high interspecific fertilization rates in vitro. Although no fixed allelic differences were found between these species, the absence of genetic differentiation between widely allopatric populations suggests that allele frequency differences between A. cytherea and A. hyacinthus in sympatry are biologically significant. By contrast, populations of Acropora tenuis, a species which spawns 2–3 hours earlier and shows low crossfertilization rates with congeners in vitro, were clearly distinct from A. cytherea and A. hyacinthus (FST = 0.427–0.465, p , 0.05). Moreover, allopatric populations of A. tenuis differed significantly, possibly as a consequence of its relatively short period of larval competency. Our results effectively rule out the possibility that A. hyacinthus and A. cytherea are morphotypes within a single species, and indicate that hybridization occurs relatively infrequently between these taxa in nature.

Item ID: 1589
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: Cnidaria, Scleractinia, interspecific hybridization, introgression, gene flow
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060409 Molecular Evolution @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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