A preliminary investigation of the intrapopulation genetic diversity of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, in Great Salt Lake, Utah, at the mitochondrial COI locus by High Resolution Melting Analysis
Relatively little is known about the intrapopulation genetic diversity of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, that inhabits hypersaline lakes such as Great Salt Lake (GSL) in Utah. Our research has two goals: 1. to develop tools to study intra- and interpopulation genetic diversity in Artemia, and 2. to study the genetic structure of the GSL Artemia population. We are interested in knowing whether there are any detectable differences in Artemia collected from different sampling sites within GSL, particularly those that have different physical characteristics, especially salinity, or are separated by physical barriers. To answer this question, we have chosen to analyze part of the mitochondrial COI gene, which is routinely used to distinguish species, but can also be used for intrapopulation analysis where polymorphism rates are high. Since Artemia is an understudied organism, we developed a method using High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRMA) to both screen for new alleles and genotype our population simultaneously. We then used this method to test the hypothesis that the Artemia found in GSL would be divisible into subpopulations.
We have completed a preliminary analysis of COI sequences at three sites located within GSL and found several new polymorphic sites within the Artemia COI gene. Our preliminary data show that the three subpopulations show moderate to high levels of genetic differentiation at COI and each population has several private alleles. Additionally, our results show that HRMA can be a useful tool for both polymorphism discovery and analysis in non-model organisms.