Genetic Divergence of Connecticut Melanoplus femurrubrum Populations

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Abstract

We surveyed Melanoplus femurrubrum populations within the state of Connecticut for genetic diversity at multiple genetic markers, including three mitochondrial [cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI), reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2), and AT rich] and one nuclear [internal transcribed spacers of the ribosomal DNA cluster (ITS1)] gene regions. All markers were variable, and the AT-rich gene showed the highest sequence divergence. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), fixation index (Fst) analysis, and phylogeographic patterns showed little divergence between northern and southern regions. Estimates of genetic diversity (π) showed higher mitochondrial diversity in the northern region but nearly equal diversity for the ITS1 gene. This study shows for the first time in Melanoplus genetic variation for the ND2, AT rich, and ITS genes within a small geographic area. Our methods and results should be useful for other researchers interested in conducting population-level studies on closely related species.

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