The bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis is native to China but has been introduced to over 70 countries and is established in many large river systems. Genetic diversity and variation in introduced bighead carp have not previously been evaluated, and a systematic comparison among fish from different river systems was unavailable. In this study, 190 bighead carp specimens were sampled from five river systems in three countries (Yangtze, Pearl, and Amur rivers, China; Danube River, Hungary; Mississippi River basin, USA) and their mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene and D-loop region were sequenced (around 1,345 base pairs). Moderate genetic diversity was found in bighead carp, ranging from 0.0014 to 0.0043 for nucleotide diversity and from 0.6879 to 0.9333 for haplotype diversity. Haplotype analysis provided evidence that (1) multiple haplotype groups might be present among bighead carp, (2) bighead carp probably originated from the Yangtze River, and (3) bighead carp in the Mississippi River basin may have some genetic ancestry in the Danube River. The analysis of molecular variance showed significant genetic differentiation among these five populations but also revealed limited differentiation between the Yangtze and Amur River bighead carp. This large-scale study of bighead carp genetic diversity and variation provides the first global perspective of bighead carp in the context of biodiversity conservation as well as invasive species control and management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science