Sequence variation of a 250–bp (base pair) fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene has been studied using polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing of 519 Atlantic cod Gadus morhua from Iceland and 78 cod from Greenland. Twenty‐four variable nucleotide sites, mostly silent, define 34 haplotypes. The amount of variation is high (?C=0·73, π=0·52 per 100 bp) with five haplotypes at polymorphic frequencies in Iceland and a number of widely dispersed rather rare haplotypes. A tree of genetic relationships among haplotypes has considerable homoplasy yet it is relatively shallow implying a high turnover of variants of the polymorphism. Net nucleotide genetic divergences among localities are nil. Geographic locality overall area, and inshore/offshore comparison explain none of the variation in an AMOVA, all the variation is among individuals and a null hypothesis of non‐differentiation of haplotype frequencies among localities or overall areas cannot be rejected. A temporal year‐class effect is found. The evolutionary difference between Greenland and Iceland cod is not significant and the percentage of variation accounted for by the Greenland/Iceland difference is half of what a temporal effect within Iceland explains. There is no evidence for considering the cod at Greenland and Iceland to consist of separate evolutionary units and the question of separate management units must address the lack of diagnostic genotypes and evidence for gene flow from clinal variation.
Journal of Fish Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2000
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