Genetic stock structure of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) inferred by PCR-RFLP analysis of the mitochondrial DNA and SNP analysis of nuclear DNA.
Walleye pollock, Theragra chalocogramma, is one of the most important species in the North Pacific and Bering Sea ecosystems. However genetic population structuring of walleye pollock is uncertain. In the present study, genetic variation of walleye pollock collected in several spawning areas ranging from the Japan Sea to the Gulf of Alaska was investigated by DNA analysis. Three regions of the spacer control region, the ND5 and ND6 region (ND complex), and the ND1 and 16S rRNA region (rDNA complex) were amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) was conducted on these PCR products and composite haplotypes were calculated. Furthermore, several nuclear DNA regions (actin, Calmodulin, S7 ribosomal protein, creatin kinase, and SypI gene) were investigated to study the stock structure of walleye pollock. It was considered that Calmodulin gene was one of good genetic marker, therefore we conducted SNP analysis for Calmodulin gene by SnaPshot kits. In RFLP analyses, there were no area-specific fragment patterns in the three regions, control region, ND complex and rDNA complex of mtDNA. However compositions of the fragment patterns for the three digested sets, control region/HinfI, rDNA complex/MspI and ND complex/MspI indicated that there are significant differences between around the Japan (Sado-Funka Bay-Wakkanai-Rausu) and the Bering Sea (Western Bering Sea-Nabarin-Atka I.-Bogoslof I). Furthermore, in the case of haplotype frequency, composition showed also significant genetic difference between two areas. Moreover, in Calmodulin analyses, haplotype compositions were changing from western area to eastern area gradually and the results of AMOVA analysis showed that there are interesting differences between western Pacific, western Bering Sea, and eastern Bering Sea. Judging from these results, it was considered that there are three populations of walleye pollock in the Northern Ocean. However, area-specific pattern was not found in some populations in the Northern Ocean. Therefore, we suggested that these populations were related by weak gene flow, and the walleye pollock was formed with meta-population around the Japan and the Bering Sea.