Divergent evolutionary histories of DNA markers in a Hawaiian population of the coral Montipora capitata

Hollie M. Putnam, Diane K. Adams, Ehud Zelzion, Nicole E. Wagner, Huan Qiu, Tali Mass, Paul G. Falkowski, Ruth D. Gates, Debashish Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated intra- and inter-colony sequence variation in a population of the dom-inant Hawaiian coral Montipora capitata by analyzing marker gene and genomic data. Ribosomal ITS1 regions showed evidence of a reticulate history among the colonies, suggesting incomplete rDNA repeat homogenization. Analysis of the mitochondrial genome identified a major (M. capitata) and a minor (M. flabellata) haplotype in single polyp-derived sperm bundle DNA with some colonies containing 2-3 different mtDNA haplotypes. In contrast, Pax-C and newly identified single-copy nuclear genes showed either no sequence differences or minor variations in SNP frequencies segregating among the colonies. Our data suggest past mitochondrial introgression in M. capitata, whereas nuclear single-copy loci show limited variation, highlighting the divergent evolutionary histories of these coral DNA markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3319
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was made possible by grants from the National Science Foundation EF-1416785 awarded to P.G.F., T.M. and D.B, OCE-PRF 1323822 to H.M.P., and Hawaii EPSCoR EPS-0903833. Funding was also provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to R.D.G. and by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF-2014035) to D.K.A. and T.M. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Putnam et al.


  • Coral colonies
  • Genomics
  • Sperm bundle DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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