Genetic diversity and phylogenetic origin of brown trout Salmo trutta populations in eastern Balkans
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The study focuses on the phylogenetic origin and genetic diversity of brown trout in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It further aims to reveal the impact of human-mediated transfers and stocking with non-indigenous trout on the populations in this area. For these purposes, mtDNA control region and microsatellite variation of 204 individuals from 16 populations were analysed. The results indicate that mtDNA haplotypes from the lower Danube basin and southern Black Sea basins differ substantially from a subclade of the Danubian lineage consisting of haplotypes found so far in the most of the Danube basin and in the Caspian and Aral Sea basins. Considering also the results of demographic analyses, this study evidences a complex evolutionary history of brown trout in the southern and western parts of the Black Sea basin. In the Aegean Sea basin, a high frequency of the central haplotype of Adriatic mtDNA lineage has been found. The other Adriatic lineage haplotypes found in this basin differ from the central haplotype by one mutational step only, indicating a recent evolution of the Adriatic lineage in the Aegean Sea basin. Substantial genetic differentiation among populations and basins was revealed. The hybridization with Atlantic brown trout was indicated in both sea basins, but especially in the Danube basin. Compared to other European regions, it can be inferred that the introgression of exogenous brown trout in the eastern Balkan populations is rather low.