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Genetics of Physiological Differentation Within the Marine Mussel Genus mytilus

Thomas J. Hilbish, Brian L. Bayne and Amanda Day
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 267-286
DOI: 10.2307/2410092
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410092
Page Count: 20
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Genetics of Physiological Differentation Within the Marine Mussel Genus mytilus
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Abstract

Two divergent taxa in the marine mussel genus Mytilus are largely isolated geographically and are routinely exposed to distinctly different thermal environments. We tested the hypothesis that the two taxa are physiologically differentiated with respect to temperature and examined the evolved adaptations allowing one of the taxa to exploit habitats where warm-temperate conditions prevail for prolonged periods. We first analyzed the physiological response to high temperature of mussels collected from a hybrid population containing members of both pure taxa, F1 hybrids, and a variety of introgressed genotypes. The experimental temperature of 23⚬C was chosen to be permissive to the taxon that occurs in warm-temperate regions (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and restrictive to the cold-water taxon (Mytilus edulis). The results show that the two taxa are physiologically differentiated. Under the experimental conditions, M. galloprovincialis exhibited a three-fold higher feeding rate and a slightly elevated metabolic rate compared with M. edulis. These differences did not result in a significant difference in net energy balance between the two taxa, probably because of an interaction between physiological response and food availability. However, M. galloprovincialis grew significantly faster in the field, indicating that the physiological differences observed in the laboratory also occur in nature. Numerous introgressed genotypes provided the opportunity to test for cosegregation between the physiological differences and four highly differentiated genetic markers. Two of the markers (esterase and octopine dehydrogenase) cosegregate with variation in feeding rate and shell growth and explained most of the physiological differences observed between taxa. A strong concordance existed between these two loci, suggesting that they may be linked and may mark segregation of the same linkage group. The results suggest that the physiological differentiation between these taxa may be controlled by a few genes (perhaps only one) each with large effect.

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