Analysis of genetic diversity and population structure of Bellamya quadrata from lakes of middle and lower Yangtze River.

PMID 26092369


As an endemic species of freshwater gastropods in China, Bellamya quadrata plays an important role in ecosystem service provision and commercial importance. However, the species is overharvested and its natural habitats are under severe threat due to fragmentation and loss. To estimate the genetic diversity and population structure of B. quadrata, 285 individuals from eight lake populations across middle and lower Yangtze River were sampled. Seven microsatellite loci were genotyped. Our results showed that (i) the genetic diversity of B. quadrata was high in most of the studied populations, yet effective population sizes appear to be rather small in some populations; (ii) low levels of genetic differentiation exists among populations but gene flow was generally high; (iii) no clear geographic or genetic structure was observed in the studied region, implying mechanisms (zoochoric dispersal and anthropogenic translocations) that enhance dispersal and gene flow have promoted population connectivity. However, the comparatively high genetic diversity of B. quadrata could be attributed to a lag phase, suggesting that the genetic diversity of this species may be lost in the future and the priorities for conservation of B. quadrata are necessary.