A study of genetic variation in northeast Atlantic harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus)
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16 enzymes were examined for genetic studies of the harp seal population structure in the Northeast Atlantic. Muscle and liver samples were collected in the West Ice off Jan Mayen and in the Eastern Barents Sea in 1987, 1989 and 1990. The samples were analyzed by starch gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing. Among 25 resolved loci, 12 were found to be variable. By isoelectric focusing, muscle tissue was found to express five polymorphic esterase systems, but due to technical difficulties, only EST -3 was consistently resolved. EST -3 and another three systems (AAT-2, ALP-2 and LDH-1) were polymorphic at the 95% criterion and were employed in comparative analysis. Another four loci were variable, but alternative alleles in these loci were rare. Most variable loci were exclusively resolved with isoelectric focusing. No significant variation among samples were found, although the sample collected off Jan Mayen in 1989 derived from the rest of the samples in phenotype distributions in three or the four polymorphic systems.