Intraspecific Genetic Diversity of Undaria pinnatifida in Japan, based on the Mitochondrial cox3 Gene and the ITS1 of nrDNA
The intraspecific genetic diversity of the kelp Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) was investigated using DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 3 (cox3) gene and internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) of nuclear ribosomal DNA in plants collected from 21 localities along the Japanese coast between 2001 and 2003. Morphological variation was also examined and compared with the genetic diversity. Cox3 analyses of 106 plants revealed 9 haplotypes (I–IX) that differed from each other by 1–7 bp (all synonymous substitutions). Haplotype I was distributed in Hokkaido and the northern Pacific coast of Honshu, while haplotype III was found along the Sea of Japan coast of Honshu. Other types were found along the central and southern coast of Honshu. ITS1 analyses of 42 plants revealed 0–1.7% nucleotide differences, but plants from the Sea of Japan coast and northern Japan had similar sequences. The lower genetic differentiation along the Sea of Japan and northern coasts might be due to the recent establishment (after the middle of the last glacial period) of the Sea of Japan flora. The cox3 haplotype of cultivated plants was found in natural populations occurring close to cultivation sites (Naruto, Tokushima Pref., and Hokutan, Hyogo Pref.). This suggests that cultivated plants possibly escaped and spread or crossed with plants of natural populations. Morphological analyses of variation in 10 characters were conducted using 66 plants. The results showed no significant local variation owing to the wide variation in each population and did not support any forma previously described. No correlations between the morphological characters and cox3 haplotypes were detected.