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Genetic differentiation in the mud crab Scylla serrata (Decapoda: Portunidae) within the Indian Ocean
Fratini, S.; Vannini, M. (2002). Genetic differentiation in the mud crab Scylla serrata (Decapoda: Portunidae) within the Indian Ocean. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 272(1): 103-116.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    mtDNA variation, population genetic, Indian Ocean

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  • Fratini, S.
  • Vannini, M.

    Scylla serrata (Decapoda: Portunidae) is a swimming crab that is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region and commonly found in estuarine and mangrove waters. An extended planktonic larval phase suggests high dispersal potential and the possibility of extensive gene flow between conspecific populations at least on a geographic mesoscale (tens to hundreds of kilometres). Intraspecific variation of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtDNA COI) gene was investigated in 77 individuals from four representative mangrove swamps of the African tropics (Kenya and Zanzibar) by means of DNA sequencing. We examined 535 base pairs (bp) and identified 24 different haplotypes. Each population sample is characterised by a single most frequent haplotype, shared among all four populations, and a small number of rare ones, typically present in only one or two individuals and representative of a specific population. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), FST statistics and ?2 contingency analysis of spatial distribution of mtDNA haplotype frequencies revealed in toto a significant genetic differentiation among populations. These results could indicate that gene flow might be reduced, even between geographically close sites, despite the high potential for dispersal; anyway, at the recorded level of divergence and owing to the abundance of rare haplotypes and singletons in our data set, repeated sampling over time is necessary to establish whether the recorded pattern of genetic differentiation is stable and biologically significant. Finally, integration of our data with those reported by Gopurenko et al. [Mar. Biol. 134 (1999) 227] on S. serrata from South Africa, Red Sea and Mauritius Islands allowed to infer S. serrata population structure within a larger area of the Indian Ocean region.

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