We assessed structural gene variation (allozymes and mtDNA) of brown trout to evaluate the genetic variability of Apennine stream populations (Northern and Central Italy) and the possibility of introgression by alien genomes after massive restocking with hatchery strains (Atlantic stocks). Genetic variability within and between Apennine populations was extremely low in our samples. Only two allozyme loci were polymorphic and mean heterozygosity was also reduced compared to other brown trout populations. Allelic frequencies determined for both loci were similar to the ones detected in the corresponding hatchery spawners. The reduction or total absence of the Mediterranean nuclear (LDH-5) and mitochondrial (16S rDNA) diagnostic markers suggests the domestic origin of most populations, and the introgression effects carried out by non-native genomes. From a taxonomic point of view, a clear differentiation emerges among basins placed on opposite sides of the Apennine chain (Tyrrhenian and Adriatic regions). In particular, the presence of Mediterranean genotypes and haplotypes characterizing Salmo (trutta) macrostigma is sporadic along the eastern Apennine side, adding additional doubts on the original presence and wide distribution of this salmonid along the Adriatic side of the mountain chain. In spite of conservation programs devoted to preservation of local genetic characteristics of S. t. macrostigma, massive restocking practices with hatchery strains obtained by a few spawners is the major cause of significant ‘founder effect’ and ‘inbreeding depression’ even in Apennine regions.
Molecular evidence for introgression and loss of genetic variability in Salmo (trutta) macrostigma as a result of massive restocking of Apennine populations (Northern and Central Italy) / NONNIS MARZANO, Francesco; Corradi, N.; Papa, R.; Tagliavini, James; Gandolfi, Gilberto. - In: ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OF FISHES. - ISSN 0378-1909. - 68(2003), pp. 349-356.
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