A size‐selected library constructed from DNA of the whiting Merlangius merlangus was screened. From about 3200 recombinant clones, 43 microsatellite loci were detected. Thirteen were sequenced in full. Primers were designed from the sequence of the flanking regions for six loci and used to test the allelic variability at these loci using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, five primer pairs developed for the stickleback and another seven for cod were tested. Only six primer pairs revealed at least three alleles per locus. The three useful loci Gmo2, Mmer‐UEAW01 and Mmer‐UEAW02, had 14–23 alleles per locus in 370 samples. Estimates of genetic structure (φ) were not statistically significant. However, estimates of genetic differentiation (Fst) were significantly different from zero. Heterogeneity χ2‐analysis of allele frequencies among populations suggested relatively low levels of differentiation among samples. Significantly different allele frequency distributions were found for Borgensfjord and northern and southern North Sea samples for at least one locus, and between the latter samples for Mmer‐UEAW02 and Gmo2. There were significant excesses of homozygotes in all samples, over expectation for randomly mating populations in Hardy‐Weinberg equilibrium. The estimated frequencies of null alleles were 14.3%, for Mmer‐UEAW01, 10.2% for Mmer‐UEAW02 and 11.6% for Gmo2. This result calls for a careful interpretation of the significance of these microsatellite data.
Journal of Fish Biology – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1997
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