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Detection Of Intraspecific.DNA Sequence Variation In The Mitochondrial CytochromebGene Of Atlantic Cod (Gadus Morhua) By The Polymerase Chain Reaction

Steven M. Carr, H. Dawn Marshall

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We determined the DNA sequence of a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene for 55 Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from Norway and from 10 locations within the Northern Cod complex and adjacent stocks off Newfoundland. DNA was prepared for sequencing by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Eleven variable nucleotide positions within a 298 base region defined 12 genotypes. Genotype proportions differed significantly between Newfoundland and Norwegian populations: the majority genotype among Newfoundland populations was present in a minority of Norwegian cod. Newfoundland cod showed less genotypic diversity than those from the eastern Atlantic: nine genotypes were found among all 10 Newfoundland populations, as compared with seven genotypes within the single Norwegian population. An exception was an overwintering, inshore Newfoundland population that showed four genotypes among five fish. As in other vertebrates, third position synonymous transitions predominate over other types of nucleotide changes. However, two amino acid replacement substitutions occur among cod, and the ratio of purine transitions to pyrimidine transitions is significantly higher than in other species. The existence of DNA sequence polymorphism permits the various hypotheses of the distribution and differentiation of Newfoundland cod stocks to be tested, and points to the utility of PCR technology in fishery genetics.