Global toxicology, ecophysiology and population relationships of the chainforming PST dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum

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Journal Article
Harmful Algae, 2012, 14 pp. 130 - 143
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Increasing scientific awareness since the 1980s of the chain-forming dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum has led to this species being reported with increased frequency in a globally increasing number of countries (23 at present). G. catenatum exhibits little molecular genetic variation in rDNA over its global range, in contrast to RAPD fingerprinting which points to high genetic variation within regional populations even between estuaries 50 km apart. All Australian and New Zealand strains possess a thymine nucleotide (T-gene) near the start of the 5.8S rRNA whereas all other global populations examined to date possess cytosine-nucleotide (C-gene), except for southern Japan which harbours both C-gene and T-gene strains. Together with cyst and plankton evidence this strongly suggests that both Australian and New Zealand populations have derived from southern Japan. Global dinoflagellate populations and cultures exhibit an extraordinary variation in PST profiles (STX and 21 analogues), but consistent regional patterns are evident with regard to the production of C1,2; C3,4; B1,2; and neoSTX analogues. PST profiles of cyst-derived cultures are deemed unrepresentative. Distinct ecophysiological differences exist between tropical (2132 °C) and warm-temperate ecotypes (1218 °C), but these appear unrelated to ITS genotypes and PST toxin phenotypes.
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