The taxonomy and evolutionary relationships of species in the genus Laminaria are poorly understood. Previous studies have demonstrated significant plasticity of morphological characters used to describe taxa, and interfertility has been reported among putative species. We analyzed nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequence variation in eight species of Laminaria (L. agardhii Kjell., L. digitata (Huds.) Lamour., L. groenlandica Rosenv. [sensu Druehl 1968], L. longicruris De la Pyl., L. longipes Bory, L. saccharina (L.) Lamour., L. setchellii Silva, and L. yezoensis Miyabe) to elucidate evolutionary relationships in this genus. Restriction maps were constructed using a small subunit rDNA probe from Costaria costata (Turn.) Saunders, an rDNA repeat from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and 11 hexameric restriction endonucleases in an annealing analysis of genomic DNA. Laminaria rDNA restriction maps were compared to each other and to that of the outgroup taxon, C. costata. rDNA restriction maps of Laminaria species and C. costata were similar. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms mapped to both the coding regions and the nontranscribed spacer of rDNA. Laminaria species were distinguished with this method. The restriction maps of L. agardhii, L. saccharina, and L. longicruris were identical, supporting a previous hypothesis that these species are conspecific. Comparison of restriction maps of Laminaria species suggested that the generic subdivision of Sections Simplices and Digitatae may be invalid.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science
- Plant Science
- annealing analysis
- restriction map: rDNA variation