In order to assess genetic variability in subpopulations of Helix aspersa, eight isoenzyme loci in 30 individuals in each of 20 subpopulations, obtained from breeders in Santa Catarina (1), São Paulo(2) and Rio de Janeiro (17) states of Brazil, were examined. Polymorphic loci included LAP, 6-PGD, PEP 2, PEP 1 and MDH, with three alelles at each of the first three loci and two at each of the others. The ME, SOD and PGI loci were monomorphic. Gene frequencies in 7 of 20 subpopulations were consistent with the Hardy-Wienberg equilibrium (P<0.05), and 6 were consistent with Wright model, indicating that these subpopulations did not meet requirements for genotypic equilibrium to be achieved. Despite the fact that some F values were high, F IS and F IT were not significantly different from zero (P³0.05). Although small, the F ST value (0.0485) was significant, suggesting small differences among populations. Most of the low genetic variation at isoenzyme loci was observed within subpopulations rather than among subpopulations, suggesting a small genetic basis for these samples. Estimated genetic distances among pairs of subpopulations also were low.
edible snail; escargot; isoenzymes; genetic variation; genetic distance