Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 5, pp 913–925 | Cite as

Molecular population genetics of male and female mitochondrial genomes in European mussels Mytilus

  • Beata ŚmietankaEmail author
  • Artur Burzyński
  • Roman Wenne
Original Paper


The doubly uniparental system of mitochondrial inheritance (DUI) is best known in marine mussels Mytilus. Under DUI there are two types of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The female type (F) is transmitted to offspring of both genders and the male type (M) exclusively to sons; consequently two distinct mtDNA lineages exist. The M lineage evolves under more relaxed selection than the F lineage resulting in higher polymorphism within the M lineage. Though this polymorphism is expected to make inferences on fine population structure easier using M instead of F data, no comprehensive comparative data exist to support this claim. We sequenced a 1,205 bp fragment of M and F mtDNA comprising parts of the COIII and ND2 genes, and analysed 204 individuals representing three Mytilus species: M. edulis, M.galloprovincialis and M. trossulus from 13 European sampling sites. A clear distinction between Mediterranean and Atlantic populations was found with both M and F data, but much better geographic differentiation was found within the Atlantic using F rather than M data. In particular, Atlantic M. galloprovincialis can be differentiated from Atlantic M. edulis, and further subdivision of Atlantic M. edulis is possible using the F data but not the M data. Multiple tests of selection were carried out to attempt to explain this paradox. We concluded that the overall pattern of polymorphism is consistent with strong purifying selection; not only is this selection relaxed in the M lineage in comparison with the F lineage, but it is also more frequently interrupted by periodic selective sweeps within the M lineage.


Substitution Rate Mismatch Distribution Recent Population Expansion Doubly Uniparental Inheritance Fourfold Degenerate Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the members of BIOCOMBE project for help with sample collection. This work was partially funded by a grant from the Polish Ministry of Science SBP Nr. 31/E-45/5.PR UE. Bayesian analyses were done on the computer cluster of Academic Computer Center (TASK) in Gdansk.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beata Śmietanka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Artur Burzyński
    • 1
  • Roman Wenne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and Marine Biotechnology, Institute of OceanologyPolish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland

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