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Support for Natal Homing in Green Turtles from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences

Marc W. Allard, Michael M. Miyamoto, Karen A. Bjorndal, Alan B. Bolten and Brian W. Bowen
Copeia
Vol. 1994, No. 1 (Feb. 1, 1994), pp. 34-41
DOI: 10.2307/1446668
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1446668
Page Count: 8
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Support for Natal Homing in Green Turtles from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences
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Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of the control region were obtained for the Costa Rica and Florida colonies of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) to test the hypothesis that gravid females return to their natal beaches to lay their eggs. Analyses of intra- and intergroup variation of these sequences revealed that the two colonies are structured differentially along maternal lineages and that mtDNA diversity is unusually high in the Florida population. The former result supports the hypothesis of natal homing in green turtles. For the latter, two explanations are provided: (1) that the Florida colony is the product of admixture (immigration from multiple sources); or (2) that it is a remnant of a larger, ancestral population. The presence or absence of Florida haplotypes among other western Atlantic populations will provide a critical test of these alternate hypotheses.

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