Morphological traits of wild and selected strains of cultured Undaria pinnatifida from Galicia (NW Spain)

Wakame, Undaria pinnatifida, is one of the most popular seaweeds used for human consumption in the world. Wakame quality is mainly valued on the basis of its morphological features. Continual inbreeding and directional selection have traditionally been used with economic seaweeds to obtain elite strains with high quality forms. In this study, we compared the morphological traits of cultured sporophytes originating from wild and selected strains of U. pinnatifida in Galicia (NW Spain). Seedlings (young sporophytes) of the two strains were cultured at a sheltered site in a coastal bay of Galicia under the same environmental conditions. Sixteen different morphological measurements were taken on cultured sporophytes. We found that the sporophytes of both wild and selected strains were significantly similar in all studied morphological characters. These results suggest that the morphology of cultured strains of U. pinnatifida from Galicia is due to environmental conditions and that specific morphological traits are dependent on the cultivation environment. Consequently, the morphological traits of Galician U. pinnatifida populations are not an important factor in selective breeding for enhanced wakame quality, and hence, for the establishment of a germplasm bank (e.g. gametophyte stocks).

Peteiro C. y Freire O.
Journal of the World Aquaculture Society
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