We used random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting to generate anonymous DNA markers in the fish Astyanax mexicanus, a species with both surface and cave populations. Surface individuals are eyed and pigmented; troglobitic forms are blind and depigmented. We hybridized surface fish and Pachon population cave fish and produced a RAPD genomic map 1064 cM in length (about half the total length of the genome) that was used to screen for quantitative trait loci (QTL) for troglomorphic traits. Three QTL for reduced eye size, two for decreased numbers of melanophores, two for condition factor, and the locus for the unifactorial trait, albinism, were mapped. These factors account for an average of 46% of the variance in these traits in the backcross. The results are the first direct demonstration that troglomorphic changes in this population are multifactorial. Two closely linked pairs of QTL were found. Each consisted of a regressive and a constructive trait QTL. These close linkages are unlikely to have occurred by chance (P < .05 for each) and suggest that troglomorphic evolution might be facilitated by pleiotropy or by genetic hitchhiking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology