Low variation but strong population structure in mitochondrial control region of the plains topminnow, Fundulus sciadicus
The plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus is a freshwater killifish endemic to the Great Plains of North America. Rising concerns for future viability of this species have prompted recent changes in its conservation status. In this study, the results of a range-wide population genetic survey based on the sequence of entire mitochondrial control region (CR) are presented. A total of 181 fish were collected from 11 sites in Nebraska and 10 sites in Missouri spanning the distribution range of the species. Seven polymorphic sites were found in the 966 base pairs of the CR, and only nine unique haplotypes were detected among all fish. Phylogenetic analysis and statistical parsimony networks identified two distinct clades. The first included fish in the Osage, Gasconade and Spring River drainages in Missouri, while the second included individuals from Nebraska and the Lamine River in Missouri, although the Lamine River is much closer to the other Missouri sites than to the Nebraska sites. Pair-wise FST and average population distances indicated that populations from most drainages are genetically distinct, as 93% of the total molecular variance was attributed to among-drainage effects. Four sites within the main distributions of this species and a highly disjunct site from the south-western portion of the range are suggested as potential targets for conservation.
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