Gene flow and genetic structure in Nile perch, Lates niloticus, from African freshwater rivers and lakes

Basiita, Rose K., Zenger, Kyall R., Mwanja, Matthew T., and Jerry, Dean R. (2018) Gene flow and genetic structure in Nile perch, Lates niloticus, from African freshwater rivers and lakes. PLoS ONE, 13 (7). e0200001.

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Background Geological evolution of the African continent has been subject to complex processes including uplift, volcanism, desert formation and tectonic rifting. This complex geology has created substantial biogeographical barriers, and coupled with anthropogenic introductions of freshwater fishes, has influenced the genetic diversity, connectivity and sub-structuring of the teleost fauna. Nile perch, Lates niloticus, is an iconic fish in Africa and is of high commercial importance, both in the species' native range and where it has been translocated. However, the species is in decline and there is a need to understand its population genetic structure to facilitate sustainable management of the fishery and aquaculture development.

Methodology Nile perch tissue samples were acquired from two West and four East (Lakes; Albert, Kyoga, Victoria and Turkana) African locations. Nineteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were used to study the genetic variation among populations across regions (West and East Africa), as well as between native and introduced environments within East Africa.

Principal findings and their significance Results revealed strong and significant genetic structuring among populations across the sampled distribution (divergence across regions, FCT = 0.26, P = 0.000). STRUCTURE analysis at a broad scale revealed K = 2 clusters, the West African individuals were assigned to one cluster, while all individuals from the East African region, regardless of whether native or introduced, were assigned to another cluster. The distinct genetic clusters identified in the current study between the West and East African Nile perch, appear to have been maintained by presence of biogeographic barriers and restricted gene flow between the two regions. Therefore, any translocations of Nile perch should be carefully considered across the regions of West and East Africa. Further analysis at a regional scale revealed further structuring of up to K = 3 genetic clusters in East African Nile perch. Significantly (P < 0.05) lower genetic diversity based on analysis of allelic richness (AR) was obtained for the two translocated populations of Lake Kyoga (AR = 3.61) and Lake Victoria (AR = 3.52), compared to Nile perch populations from their putative origins of Lakes Albert (AR = 4.12) and Turkana (AR = 4.43). The lower genetic diversity in the translocated populations may be an indication of previous bottlenecks and may also indicate a difficulty for these populations to persist and adapt to climatic changes and anthropogenic pressures that are currently present in the East African region.

Item ID: 54872
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2018 Basiita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), AusAID, Uganda Government
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 07:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310599 Genetics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310410 Phylogeny and comparative analysis @ 50%
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