Lack of Variation at Phosphoglucose Isomerase (Pgi) in Bumblebees: Implications for Conservation Genetics Studies
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Assessing genetic variation underlying ecologically important traits is increasingly of interest and importance in population and conservation genetics. For some groups generally useful markers exist for examining the relative role of selection and drift in shaping genetic diversity e.g. the major histocompatibility complex in vertebrates and self-incompatibility loci in plants. For invertebrates there is no such generally useful locus. However, phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi) has been proposed as a useful functional marker in the conservation genetics of invertebrates. Where thermal microclimate varies, balanced polymorphisms may be maintained due to trade-offs between thermally stable and kinetically advantageous allelic forms. We here report very low levels of Pgi variation in bumblebees rendering this locus to be of little use as an adaptive marker in a conservation genetics context in this group. Potential explanations for this lack of variation are considered.
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