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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 477:87-92 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10218

Comparison of grafting versus a molecular genetic technique in identifying clone mates of the reef coral Porites rus

Paul L. Jokiel, Ku‘ulei S. Rodgers*, Stephen A. Karl

Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, PO Box 1346, Kane‘ohe, Hawaii 96744, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The reef coral Porites rus is uncommon on reefs along the coast of south Moloka‘i, Hawaii, USA, but where found, it covers extensive areas of the reef flat. This pattern suggests a long history of asexual reproduction through fragmentation and dispersal of colonies during large wave events. Genetic comparisons within and between 2 such large isolated populations were made using the classic technique of tissue grafting compared to a more recently developed molecular technique. Both approaches showed that the 2 populations are genetically distinct from each other. All samples taken from one population consisted of a single genotype, while the second population consisted of 2 genotypes that were distinct from the first population. The molecular technique is ultimately a more powerful tool for population studies, but is technically far more complex, expensive and time consuming. The grafting technique has the advantage of simplicity and very low cost, and is suitable for some types of investigations.


KEY WORDS: Population biology · Reef coral · Fragmentation · Clonal structure · Recruitment · Sexual reproduction · Asexual reproduction


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Cite this article as: Jokiel PL, Rodgers KS, Karl SA (2013) Comparison of grafting versus a molecular genetic technique in identifying clone mates of the reef coral Porites rus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 477:87-92. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10218

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