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Limits to gene flow in a cosmopolitan marine planktonic diatom

By Griet Casteleyn, Frederik Leliaert, Thierry Backeljau, Ann-Eline Debeer, Yuichi Kotaki, Lesley Rhodes, Nina Lundholm, Koen Sabbe and Wim Vyverman

Abstract

The role of geographic isolation in marine microbial speciation is hotly debated because of the high dispersal potential and large population sizes of planktonic microorganisms and the apparent lack of strong dispersal barriers in the open sea. Here, we show that gene flow between distant populations of the globally distributed, bloom-forming diatom species Pseudo-nitzschia pungens (clade I) is limited and follows a strong isolation by distance pattern. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis implies that under appropriate geographic and environmental circumstances, like the pronounced climatic changes in the Pleistocene, population structuring may lead to speciation and hence may play an important role in diversification of marine planktonic microorganisms. A better understanding of the factors that control population structuring is thus essential to reveal the role of allopatric speciation in marine microorganisms

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2919969
Provided by: PubMed Central
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