Recent population expansion in the evolutionary history of the Californian anchovy Engraulis mordax

Noé Díaz-Viloria, Laura Sánchez-Velasco, Ricardo Pérez-Enríquez


The Californian anchovy Engraulis mordax, a temperate species, may have undergone a process of population disjunction from experiencing post-glacial water heating processes around the tip of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico about 10,000 b.p. A genetic analysis was performed to test the null hypothesis of genetic homogeneity between the Gulf of California and Southern California, U. S. A., and if this is the case, to estimate the time of haplotype emergence in terms of coalescence. A total of 80 sequences of the mtDNA hypervariable control region of E. mordax captured in the central Gulf of California (n = 40) and Southern California (n = 40) were analyzed. In spite of the large number of private haplotypes, no significant genetic differentiation among sites (FST = –0.0025, p = 0.686) was observed. An unimodal distribution of mismatch frequency between haplotypes indicated a model of rapid expansion in population size that, based on a mutation rate of 3.6% per million years in the control region, indicates a relatively recent nucleotide differentiation time of approximately 61,000 years. This time period corresponds to the late Pleistocene, suggesting population expansions at each locality, followed by the last episode of glaciation, which may have contributed to migration of this temperate-affinity species between two locations and the genetic homogenization. However this unique recent event of gene flow in the evolutionary history of species does not explain by itself the mismatch distribution patterns found.

Palabras clave

Control region; gene flow; mitochondrial DNA; molecular clock; recent population expansion

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