Microsatellite allele sizes alone are insufficient to delineate species boundaries in Symbiodinium

Howells, E.J., Willis, B.L., Bay, L.K., and van Oppen, M.J.H. (2016) Microsatellite allele sizes alone are insufficient to delineate species boundaries in Symbiodinium. Molecular Ecology, 25 (12). pp. 2719-2723.

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Symbiodinium are a diverse group of unicellular dinoflagellates that are important nutritional symbionts of reef-building corals. Symbiodinium putative species ('types') are commonly identified with genetic markers, mostly nuclear and chloroplast encoded ribosomal DNA regions. Population genetic analyses using microsatellite loci have provided insights into Symbiodinium biogeography, connectivity and phenotypic plasticity, but are complicated by: (i) a lack of consensus criteria used to delineate inter- vs. intragenomic variation within species; and (ii) the high density of Symbiodinium in host tissues, which results in single samples comprising thousands of individuals. To address this problem, Wham & LaJeunesse (2016) present a method for identifying cryptic Symbiodinium species from microsatellite data based on correlations between allele size distributions and nongeographic genetic structure. Multilocus genotypes that potentially do not recombine in sympatry are interpreted as secondary 'species' to be discarded from downstream population genetic analyses. However, Symbiodinium species delineations should ideally incorporate multiple physiological, ecological and molecular criteria. This is because recombination tests may be a poor indicator of species boundaries in Symbiodinium due to their predominantly asexual mode of reproduction. Furthermore, discontinuous microsatellite allele sizes in sympatry may be explained by secondary contact between previously isolated populations and by mutations that occur in a nonstepwise manner. Limitations of using microsatellites alone to delineate species are highlighted in earlier studies that demonstrate occasional bimodal distributions of allele sizes within Symbiodinium species and considerable allele size sharing among Symbiodinium species. We outline these issues and discuss the validity of reinterpretations of our previously published microsatellite data from Symbiodinium populations on the Great Barrier Reef (Howells et al. 2013).

Item ID: 48425
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2017 02:57
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310704 Microbial genetics @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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