Balancing selection at allozyme loci in oysters: implications from nuclear RFLPs

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Science  03 Apr 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5053, pp. 100-102
DOI: 10.1126/science.1348870


Population genetic analyses that depend on the assumption of neutrality for allozyme markers are used widely. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms in nuclear DNA of the American oyster evidence a pronounced population subdivision concordant with mitochondrial DNA. This finding contrasts with a geographic uniformity in allozyme frequencies previously thought to reflect high gene flow mediated by the pelagic gametes and larvae. The discordance likely is due to selection on protein electrophoretic characters that balances allozyme frequencies in the face of severe constraints to gene flow. These results raise a cautionary note for studies that rely on assumptions of neutrality for allozyme markers.