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Mitochondrial genome diversity and population mitogenomics of Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and Arctic dwelling gadoids

June 26, 2020

High-latitude fish typically exhibit a narrow thermal tolerance window, which may pose challenges when coping with temperatures that shift outside of a species’ range of tolerance. Due to its role in aerobic metabolism and energy balance, the mitochondrial genome is likely critical for the acclimation and adaptation to differing temperature regimes in marine ectotherms. As oceans continue to warm, there is growing need to understand the ability of organisms to respond to changing environmental conditions given evidence that some species, in particular cold-water species, may already be experiencing difficulties. To assess how Arctic gadids in Alaska have responded to differential thermal preferences in the past and how regions are interconnected, we sequenced complete mitochondrial genomes for four Arctic gadids to determine the distribution of mitochondrial diversity and population-level structure as well as to detect signatures of selection acting on the mitochondrial genome. We found little population-level structure within all four species with the clear exception of Gulf of Alaska saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis). Northern localities exhibited higher levels of genetic diversity and primarily northern lineages were observed within polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and saffron cod, likely reflecting asymmetrical dispersal and potentially admixture of distinct lineages via ocean currents. The main evolutionary force shaping the evolution of the mitogenome appears to be purifying selection, but we also identified potential positive selection of candidate amino acid replacements primarily in complex I (ND genes) in polar cod. The high levels of mitochondrial diversity observed in our study and large population size may provide this species with the ability to respond evolutionarily (i.e. long-term) to a changing environment.

Publication Year 2020
Title Mitochondrial genome diversity and population mitogenomics of Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and Arctic dwelling gadoids
DOI 10.1007/s00300-020-02703-5
Authors Robert E. Wilson, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Noel Sme, Anthony J. Gharrett, Andrew Majewski, Kate Wedemeyer, R. John Nelson, Sandra L. Talbot
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Polar Biology
Index ID 70210832
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB