Conservation Genetics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 1073–1083

Genetic structure within and among populations of the endangered razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) as determined by analysis of microsatellites


    • School of Life SciencesArizona State University
  • Melody J. Saltzgiver
    • School of Life SciencesArizona State University
  • Paul C. Marsh
    • School of Life SciencesArizona State University
    • Marsh & Associates
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-012-0355-9

Cite this article as:
Dowling, T.E., Saltzgiver, M.J. & Marsh, P.C. Conserv Genet (2012) 13: 1073. doi:10.1007/s10592-012-0355-9


Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) was once common and widely distributed throughout the Colorado River drainage of western North America. Water development and predation by non-native species led to significant decrease in the species’ range, and dramatic reduction in size of remaining populations. Previous analyses of mtDNA variation determined that most variation was found within locations and that haplotypes were randomly distributed relative to geography, indicating these samples represent remnants of a single, basin-wide population. In addition, both diversity and number of haplotypes declined progressively down- to upstream, consistent with geologically-recent expansion into the northern portions of the basin. Analyses of variation at 13 microsatellite loci also identified a decrease in genetic variation from down- to upstream, also consistent with the hypothesis of recent expansion. Analyses of population structure identified three distinct groups, but the majority of microsatellite variation was found within populations. Most individuals from the upper Colorado River were identified as a discrete unit. These individuals exhibited high levels of relatedness, indicating this represented an isolated group of closely related individuals. There also were significant differences between populations above and below the Grand Canyon; however, estimates of Θ were relatively low. Given nothing is known of local adaptation in this species, populations above and below the canyon should be managed as independent units; however, if numbers become too low it will be possible to translocate individuals from southern populations northward to increase levels of genetic variability and decrease relatedness within units. These results also illustrate the need for careful consideration of all available information when using molecular data in identifying units for management.


CatostomidaeSpatial variationRelatednessManagement

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012