Editor-in-Chief: Dring, Matthew
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Molecular approaches to the study of invasive seaweeds
1School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland
2School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland
3School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland
Citation Information: Botanica Marina. Volume 50, Issue 5/6, Pages 385–396, ISSN (Online) 14374323, ISSN (Print) 00068055, DOI: 10.1515/BOT.2007.043, December 2007
- Published Online:
A wide range of vectors is currently introducing a plethora of alien marine species into indigenous marine species assemblages. Over the past two decades, molecular studies of non-native seaweeds, including cryptic invaders, have successfully identified the species involved and their sources; we briefly review these studies. As yet, however, little research has been directed towards examining the genetic consequences of seaweed invasions. Here we provide an overview of seaweed invasions from a genetic perspective, focusing on invader species for which the greatest amount of information is available. We review invasion processes, and rationalize evolutionary and genetic consequences for the indigenous and invader species into two main groups: (1) changes in gene-pool composition, in population structure and allele frequencies; and (2) changes in genome organization at the species level through hybridization, and in individual gene expression profiles at the levels of expressed messenger RNA and the proteome (i.e., all proteins synthesized) and thus the phenotype. We draw on studies of better-known aquatic and terrestrial organisms to point the way forward in revealing the genetic consequences of seaweed invasions. We also highlight potential applications of more recent methodological and statistical approaches, such as microarray technology, assignment tests and mixed stock analysis.
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