Seven nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers were examined in 12 specimens of Ptychodera flava, a model acorn worm used in molecular biology, collected in Japan from three local populations with different modes of living. A comparison of intraspecific results did not show genetically isolated populations despite the species' enclave habitats and asexual reproduction. Moreover, both the nuclear 18S ribosomal RNA gene and mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences were identical to those from Moorea in French Polynesia, nearly 10,000 kilometers away from Japan. I also provide the first definitive information regarding polymorphisms in 18S ribosomal RNA gene, the external transcribed spacer (ETS), internal transcribed spacers (ITS), and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (mtCO1) sequence in hemichordates using newly designed primer sets, and I show both high larval vagility and certain criteria for the molecular identification of this species.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3