Development and Application of Genetic Markers for Population Structure Analysis of the Blue Coral Reef Starfish, Linckia laevigata (Linn.) (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)

Richard Magsino, Marie Antonette Juinio-Meñez, Rachel Ravago


The tropical blue coral reef starfish, Linckia laevigata, is a good model species for examining genetic affinities among reef populations. Allozyme and mtDNA PCR-RFLP genetic markers were developed for this species. A total of nine (9) polymorphic and three (3) monomorphic allozyme marker loci were resolved out of 25 enzyme systems assessed for genetic activity in three electrophoretic buffers used. Polymorphic mitochondrial DNA gene segments of the control region with flanking sequences and the cytochrome oxidase I (CO1) were amplified after examining several gene regions for PCR product amplifications. Restriction enzyme screening of the CO1 region revealed variation of restriction profiles in seven (7) out of twenty (20) enzymes initially tested. Preliminary comparison of the genetic structure of L. laevigata based on allozyme and mtDNA markers for selected reefs are presented. The development of these genetic markers will be useful in inferring gene flow and reef connectivity in the South China Sea, Palawan shelf, and Sulu Sea.


genetic markers; allozymes; PCR-RFLP; Linckia laevigata; population genetics; Asteroidea

Full Text: