Interrelationships of heterozygosity, growth rate and heterozygote deficiencies in the coot clam, Mulinia lateralis

Genetics. 1990 Mar;124(3):687-99. doi: 10.1093/genetics/124.3.687.


Allozyme surveys of marine invertebrates commonly report heterozygote deficiencies, a correlation between multiple locus heterozygosity and size, or both. Hypotheses advanced to account for these phenomena include inbreeding, null alleles, selection, spatial or temporal Wahlund effects, aneuploidy and molecular imprinting. Previous studies have been unable to clearly distinguish among these alternative hypotheses. This report analyzes a large data set (1906 individuals, 15 allozyme loci) from a single field collection of the coot clam Mulinia lateralis and demonstrates (1) significant heterozygote deficiencies at 13 of 15 loci, (2) a correlation between the magnitude of heterozygote deficiency at a locus and the effect of heterozygosity at that locus on shell length, and (3) a distribution of multilocus heterozygosity which deviates from that predicted by observed single-locus heterozygosities. A critical examination of the abovementioned hypotheses as sources of these findings rules out inbreeding, null alleles, aneuploidy, population mixing and imprinting as sole causes. The pooling of larval subpopulations subjected to varying degrees of selection, aneuploidy or imprinting could account for the patterns observed in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Bivalvia / genetics*
  • Bivalvia / growth & development
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Heterozygote*
  • Homozygote
  • Regression Analysis