Imprints from genetic drift and mutation imply relative divergence times across marine transition zones in a pan-European small pelagic fish (Sprattus sprattus)

Limborg, M. T.; Hanel, Reinhold GND; Debes, Paul V.; Ring, A. K.; Andre, C.; Tsigenopoulos, Costas S.; Bekkevold, Dorte

Geographic distributions of most temperate marine fishes are affected by postglacial recolonisation events, which have left complex genetic imprints on populations of marine species. This study investigated population structure and demographic history of European sprat (Sprattus sprattus L.) by combining inference from both mtDNA and microsatellite genetic markers throughout the species’ distribution. We compared effects from genetic drift and mutation for both genetic markers in shaping genetic differentiation across four transition zones. Microsatellite markers revealed significant isolation by distance and a complex population structure across the species' distribution (overall yST¼0.038, Po0.01). Across transition zones markers indicated larger effects of genetic drift over mutations in the northern distribution of sprat contrasting a stronger relative impact of mutation in the species’ southern distribution in the Mediterranean region. These results were interpreted to reflect more recent divergence times between northern populations in accordance with previous findings. This study demonstrates the usefulness of comparing inference from different markers and estimators of divergence for phylogeographic and population genetic studies in species with weak genetic structure, as is the case in many marine species.

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Limborg, M. T. / Hanel, Reinhold / Debes, Paul V. / et al: Imprints from genetic drift and mutation imply relative divergence times across marine transition zones in a pan-European small pelagic fish (Sprattus sprattus). 2012.

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