Neutral and nonneutral mitochondrial genetic variation in deep-sea clams from the family vesicomyidae

Andrew S. Peek, Brandon S. Gaut, Robert A. Feldman, James P. Barry, Randall E. Kochevar, Richard A. Lutz, Robert C. Vrijenhoek

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44 Scopus citations


Nucleotide sequences at two mitochondrial genes from 57 individuals representing eight species of deep-sea clams (Vesicomyidae) were examined for variation consistent with the neutral model of molecular evolution. One gene, cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI), deviated from the expectations of neutrality by containing an excess of intraspecific nonsynonymous polymorphism. Additionally, one species, Calyptogena kilmeri, showed a significant excess of rare polymorphism specifically at the COI locus. In contrast, a second mitochondrial gene, the large-subunit 16S ribosomal RNA gene (16S), showed little deviation from neutrality either between or within species. Together, COI and 16S show no deviation from neutral expectations by the HKA test, produce congruent phylogenetic relationships between species, and show correlated numbers of fixed differences between species and polymorphism within species. These patterns of both neutral and nonneutral evolution within the mitochondrial genome are most consistent with a model where intraspecific nonsynonymous polymorphism at COI is near neutrality. In addition to examining the forces of molecular evolution, we extend hypotheses about interspecific relationships within this family for geographical- locations previously unexamined by molecular methods including habitats near the Middle Atlantic, the Aleutian Trench, and Costa Rica.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology


  • Deep-sea chemoautotrophic bivalves
  • Nearly neutral variation
  • Neutrality tests
  • Nonsynonymous
  • Ribosomal RNA
  • Synonymous


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