Tracing the Trans-Pacific Evolutionary History of a Domesticated Seaweed (Gracilaria chilensis) with Archaeological and Genetic Data

Abstract : The history of a domesticated marine macroalga is studied using archaeological, phylogeographic and population genetic tools. Phylogeographic and population genetic analyses demonstrated that the cultivated red alga Gracilaria chilensis colonised the Chilean coast from New Zealand. Combining archaeological observations with phylogeographic data provided evidence that exchanges between New Zealand and Chile have occurred at least before the Holocene, likely at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and we suggest that migration probably occurred via rafting. Furthermore, the remarkably low microsatellite diversity found in the Chilean populations compared to those in New Zealand is consistent with a recent genetic bottleneck as a result of over-exploitation of natural populations and/or the process of domestication. Therefore, the aquaculture of this seaweed, based essentially on clonal propagation, is occurring from genetically depressed populations and may be driving the species to an extinction vortex in Chile.
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Marie-Laure Guillemin, Myriam Valero, Sylvain Faugeron, Wendy Nelson, Christophe Destombe. Tracing the Trans-Pacific Evolutionary History of a Domesticated Seaweed (Gracilaria chilensis) with Archaeological and Genetic Data. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (12), pp.e114039. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0114039⟩. ⟨hal-01360906⟩

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