Extreme genetic divergence in the endemic fish Chirostoma humboldtianum: implications for its conservation

Rosa María García-Martínez, Omar Mejía, Francisco Javier García-De León, Irene De Los Angeles Barriga-Sosa


Chirostoma humboltianum is an endemic species widely distributed in isolated basins of Central México. However, habitat alteration had reduced the range of distribution and led to the local extinction of the species in some basins. During the Miocene these basins were connected, allowing dispersal and colonization of new hydrological systems. Later on, tectonic, volcanic and climatic events of the Plio-Pleistocene promoted continuous periods of isolation and reconnection allowing the species evolve through continuous cycles of expansion and contraction of its distribution. Therefore it is expected that these events have left signals in the geographical distribution and genetic diversity and divergence of existing populations. Although the analysis of genetic diversity and genetic structure in the population becomes an important factor for the conservation of a species, few studies have been made in this taxon. In this study we used a 341pb segment of the domain I of the hypervariable region of the mitochondrial control region to analyze the genetic diversity and their distribution in 20 individuals of each one of six lakes located in central México. The values of haplotypic (0 - 0.938) and nucleotide (0 - 0.0352) diversity suggested continuous periods of expansion and population contraction related with the formation of the lakes during the Pleistocene which is supported by the BSP and mismatch analysis, and recent anthropogenic factors. In addition, the large number of exclusive haplotypes (66%) and the highly significant genetic differentiation among populations suggests that each one of the population must be conserved because each one is an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species.

Palabras clave

Chirostoma humboldtinaum; control region; genetic diversity; population genetics

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