Effect of marine contamination on the genetic population structure of the bivalve Crassostrea angulata

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I Cross
L Rebordinos


Seven enzyme loci were analyzed in three natural populations of Crassostrea angulata located on the southern Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Two of the populations showed distinct levels of contamination by heavy metals, whereas the third was not contaminated and served as control. These seven loci were shown to be very variable in terms of the number of alleles, polymorphism and average heterozygosity. The Lap and Mdh1 loci presented null alleles. A significant positive correlation was found between the number of alleles and the concentration of iron that was fitted to a model of linear regression. However, this correlation was negative for the heterozygosity, and significant for cadmium and zinc. The Em, Lap, Mdh1 and Xdh loci showed a deficit of heterozygotes in all the populations. The values of heterozygotic deficit (D) were statistically significant between the contaminated populations and the control for Mdh1 and very close to a significant level for Em. In Pgm, a heterozygotic excess appeared in the control population and a deficit, which was correlated to the increased levels of metal concentration, occurred in the other two populations. The differences between the D values of the three populations were also significant in this locus. Positive, negative and significant relationships were obtained between the concentration of metals and some alleles of the Em, Lap and Pgm loci. Also, the homozygotic genotypes of the alleles with positive correlation values were selected in the contaminated areas, while the heterozygotes were more favoured in the control population, showing an adaptive behavior and corroborating the utility of some of these loci as biomarkers in studies of population dynamics in areas subjected to environmental contamination.


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Cross, I., & Rebordinos, L. (2003). Effect of marine contamination on the genetic population structure of the bivalve Crassostrea angulata. Ciencias Marinas, 29(2), 239–250. https://doi.org/10.7773/cm.v29i2.142
Research Article