The soft coral Heteroxenia fuscescens is a common shallow-reef brooding species in the Red Sea. By means of amplified fragment length polymorphism markers, we studied modes of reproduction of planulae (sexual vs. vegetative) and levels of gene diversity of a population residing in the northern Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea. Eighty-nine larvae were collected from 9 mother colonies at 3 locations over a distance of 5 km. Amplifications revealed 221 putative loci, of which 81.4% were polymorphic; gene diversity was 0.29, allowing good identification of individual genotypes. No 2 identical DNA samples were present, so no asexual reproduction of planulae was indicated. The sampled planulae did not exhibit any genetic structure characteristic to a specific location, indicating one large gene pool and extensive gene flow among H. fuscescens specimens inhabiting the northern Gulf of Eilat.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank S. Shafir for helping in animal collection and G. Paz for technical assistance. We express our appreciation to D. Fautin and to the anonymous referees for their helpful suggestions that contributed significantly to this study. This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (408/03) to B.R.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology