Information on the extent of genetic differentiation among populations of the squid Loligo opalescens is crucial for the conservation of this commercially utilized species. We analysed six highly variable microsatellite loci in 11 collections of L. opalescens from different locations and spawning seasons to estimate the relative influence of two major evolutionary forces, gene flow and genetic drift. Microsatellite allele frequency patterns suggest that gene flow prevents population differentiation in L. opalescens. Tests for genetic differentiation showed homogeneity of the samples with an overall FST/RST of 0.0028/-0.0013. Genetic uniformity among samples from different year classes indicates that allele frequency patterns in L. opalescens are relatively stable over time. However, a more complete and detailed picture of fine-scale allele frequency shifts in this species will require a systematic microsatellite analysis of local populations over consecutive spawning cycles.
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