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Anim Genet. 2009 Feb;40(1):65-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2008.01805.x. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Genetic diversity of captive forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) inferred from the mitochondrial DNA control region.

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1
Sichuan Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology on Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610064, China.

Abstract

Forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) were once distributed widely in China. However, wild populations have declined dramatically because of poaching and habitat loss. Captive breeding populations have been established for several decades, but the genetic backgrounds of most captive populations were unclear and the population sizes increased very slowly. To provide useful information for conservation and management of this species, we investigated the genetic diversity and population structure of forest musk deer by analysing a 582-bp fragment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region (CR) in three captive breeding populations in Sichuan Province, China. Ninety-four variable sites and 27 haplotypes were observed in 109 individuals, and the nucleotide and haplotype diversities were relatively high compared with those of other endangered mammals. Of the three investigated populations, the Maerkang population had the highest nucleotide diversity (pi=0.0568), haplotype diversity (h=0.836) and average intra-population genetic distance (0.062). The analysis of molecular variance demonstrated that most variation occurred within samples and that there was significant differentiation of the three populations. Estimates of gene flow indicated that there were few genetic exchanges among the three populations. Building pedigree records and increasing gene flow between populations will be helpful for conserving these populations and this species.

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