We used restriction-enzyme analysis of polymerase-chain reaction-amplified, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to assess genetic differentiation of subspecies and populations of sea otters, Enhydra lutris, throughout the range of the species. There were several haplotypes of mtDNA in each subspecies and geographically separate populations. MtDNA sequence divergence of haplotypes of sea otters was 0.0004–0.0041 base substitutions per nucleotide. E. L nereis appears to have monophyletic mitochondrial DNA, while E. I. lutris and E. I. kenyoni do not. Different frequencies of haplotypes of mtDNA among populations reflect current restriction of gene flow and the unique histories of different populations. There are two or three haplotypes of mtDNA and diversity of haplotypes is 0.1376–0.5854 in each population of otters. This is consistent with theoretical work, which suggests that population bottlenecks of sea otters probably did not result in major losses of genetic variation for individual populations, or the species as a whole.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Mitochondrial-DNA variation among subspecies and populations of sea otters (Enhydra lutris)|
|Series title||Journal of Mammalogy|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Contributing office(s)||Alaska Biological Science Center, Western Ecological Research Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|