Inheritance of the Background Shell Color in the Snails
Littorina obtusata (Gastropoda, Littorinidae)
E. V. Kozminsky
White Sea Biological Station, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, 199034 Russia
Received December 17, 2013; in final form, May 22, 2014
AbstractWe investigated in a gastropod mollusk Littorina obtusata (L. obtusata) the inheritance of back-
ground shell coloration of the shell, which arises on the basis of three pigments: purple, orange, and yellow. We
found that the hypothesis on polyallelic inheritance, as in the genus Cepaea, cannot explain the inheritance of
shell color in periwinkles. We demonstrated that a separate genetic system is responsible for incorporation of
each pigment into the shell. The composition of these genetic systems includes at least two genes each in the
case of the yellow and purple pigments. Our analysis shows that caution should be applied when extending the
results obtained in the studies of the Cepaea genus to the other species of gastropods.
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