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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


GAJARDO, GONZALO  and  BEARDMORE, JOHN A. Coadaptation: lessons from the brine shrimp Artemia, "the aquatic Drosophila" (Crustacea; Anostraca). Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.1, pp.65-72. ISSN 0716-078X.

During the fifties Brncic and the Dobzhansky's school, using the fruit fly Drosophila as a test organism, introduced the term integration of the genotype, or genetic coadaptation, which has had great impact on thinking in today's evolutionary biology. In this work we use the brine shrimp Artemia - in many respects a sort of aquatic Drosophila- as a model organism to evaluate the relationship between population structure, potential for divergence and the degree of morphological and/or genetic change. These aspects, tightly linked with the organization of the genotype, are important to understanding how recombination and adaptive release of genetic and phenotypic variation affect the speciation process in Artemia. Analysis of genetic (allozyme, diploid and chromocentre numbers), morphological (Mahalanobis distances) and reproductive data (cross-fertility tests) available for populations of the bisexual, endemic species of the Americas, Artemia franciscana and A. persimilis, indicate that: (i) A. franciscana and A. persimilis are morphologically distinct in correspondence with observed genetic differences (D Nei > 1; 2n = 42 and 44; 12.5 and 1.5 mean chromocentre numbers, respectively); (ii) populations from Chile and other South American localities (mainly A. franciscana) display high levels of genetic variability and a trend to develop large genetic distances between populations; (iii) the plasticity of Artemia gene pool is associated, at least in part, with ecological heterogeneity. Hence an adaptive divergence mode is thought to best define the speciation process in Artemia; (iv) the succesful production of laboratory hybrids in the allopatric Artemia populations studied in the Americas, a feature seen in other anostracods, could be explained by the fact that formerly allopatric populations have not achieved later sympatry, as required by the allopatric speciation paradigm

Keywords : Artemia, coadaptation; genetic variability; interpopulation differentiation; aquatic Drosophila.

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