Genetic composition of Mytilus species in mussel populations from southern Chile
Mussels are one of the most cultivated and commercialized bivalves worldwide and in southern Chile its culture represent an important economic activity. The species identification within the Mytilus genera, by morphological features, is unreliable, so we used a polymorphism RFLP in the gene encoding the polyphenolic adhesive protein as a species-specific genetic marker to describe Mytilus species diversity in southern Chile, and evaluate possible applications in traceability, food quality and safety. Using Me 15-16 marker most mussels were M. chilensis, finding no other pure individuals; however, putative hybrids of M. chilensis x M. trossulus and M. chilensis x M. galloprovincialis were detected. There was no evidence of M. edulis. The presence of the M. trossulus allele, faraway from its distribution area, demands further analysis with different genetic markers to allow a better understanding of its origin. In addition, the correspondence between markers that distinguishes northern from southern hemisphere M. galloprovincialis, with those who discriminates between M. chilensis and M. galloprovincialis would contribute to the taxonomic status of Chilean blue mussels. In Chile, the genetic composition of Mytilus indicates that geographical origin of mussels and its traceability cannot be established merely from the identification of the species. The use of other markers would be required.