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Mitochondrial DNA Reveals Genetic Structuring of Pinna nobilis across the Mediterranean Sea

July 12, 2013

Pinna nobilis is the largest endemic Mediterranean marine bivalve. During past centuries, various human activities have promoted the regression of its populations. As a consequence of stringent standards of protection, demographic expansions are currently reported in many sites. The aim of this study was to provide the first large broad-scale insight into the genetic variability of P. nobilis in the area that encompasses the western Mediterranean, Ionian Sea, and Adriatic Sea marine ecoregions. To accomplish this objective twenty-five populations from this area were surveyed using two mitochondrial DNA markers (COI and 16S). Our dataset was then merged with those obtained in other studies for the Aegean and Tunisian populations (eastern Mediterranean), and statistical analyses (Bayesian model-based clustering, median-joining network, AMOVA, mismatch distribution, Tajima’s and Fu’s neutrality tests and Bayesian skyline plots) were performed. The results revealed genetic divergence among three distinguishable areas: (1) western Mediterranean and Ionian Sea; (2) Adriatic Sea; and (3) Aegean Sea and Tunisian coastal areas. From a conservational point of view, populations from the three genetically divergent groups found may be considered as different management units.

Sanna D, Cossu P, Dedola GL, Scarpa F, Maltagliati F, et al., 2013, Mitochondrial DNA Reveals Genetic Structuring of Pinna nobilis across the Mediterranean Sea, PLoS ONE, 8,6, e67372, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067372. Article.

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