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Electrophoretic variation, regional differences, and gene flow in the coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) of southern British Columbia


, : Electrophoretic variation, regional differences, and gene flow in the coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) of southern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 444: 822-831

Populations of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in southern British Columbia were assayed for genetic variation at 26 enzyme loci. The mean heterozygosity was only 0.25 .+-. 0.06%. Previously studied wild Oregon cohos had a mean heterozyosity of 1.36 .+-. 0.37% compared with 0.30 .+-. 0.09% in Lower Coastal Mainland and 0.13 .+-. 0.08% in Upper Fraser River fish for the same enzyme loci. A plausible explanation for the very low mean heterozygosity is that British Columbia coho salmon went through an extreme population bottleneck during or after the last ice age. Lower Coastal Mainland salmon are significantly different from the fish of Vancouver Island and can be easily distinguished from Oregon and Capilano Hatchery (Coastal Mainland, B.C.) fish. It should be feasible to determine the relative proportions of different stocks in large oceanic coho salmon samples. The maximum likelihood estimate of the migration rate between spawning populations is 5.8 .+-. 1.2 breeding adults per generation. This is enough to prevent adaptation to local habitats by small populations of fewer than 100 breeding adults, but it is not high enough to impede selection in large populations of 1000 or more breeding adults.

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