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Conservation Genetics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 729–741 | Cite as

Extremely low genetic variation in endangered Tatra chamois and evidence for hybridization with an introduced Alpine population

  • Barbora Zemanová
  • Petra Hájková
  • Bedřich Hájek
  • Natália Martínková
  • Peter Mikulíček
  • Jan Zima
  • Josef Bryja
Research Article

Abstract

The Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica) is an endangered endemic subspecies living exclusively in the Tatra Mountains (Slovakia and southern Poland). In order to protect this evolutionary significant unit, a back-up population was established in the nearby Low Tatra Mts. in the 1970s. Before the subspecific status of Tatra chamois had been recognised, however, non-native Alpine chamois (R. r. rupicapra) were introduced to two adjacent mountain ranges. In order to assess their present conservation status, therefore, we undertook a thorough genetic analysis of all Slovak chamois populations (n = 363; 20 microsatellites, SRY gene, MHC class II DRB gene and mtDNA). We found low genetic variation and a high level of inbreeding in all populations, the least variable being the native Tatra chamois population (only one MHC allele), which we ascribe primarily to population bottlenecks. Introduced Alpine chamois showed greater variation, despite originating from few founders. One population, however, founded by just six individuals, also showed highest inbreeding. Male-biased introgressive hybridization between the back-up Low Tatra population and both introduced Alpine populations was detected using several approaches, with up to 19 % of the genome introgressed from Alpine chamois. Such hybridization can be viewed ambiguously as regards conservation in that, though it disrupts the integrity of the unique Tatra chamois genome in the back-up population it also improves its very low genetic variation and decreases inbreeding level, with no obvious signs of outbreeding depression.

Keywords

Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica Ungulate Non-invasive genetic sampling Bottleneck Inbreeding Hybrid detection 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We appreciate the help of our co-workers, including Peter Bačkor, Milan Ballo, Mária Boďová, Miroslav Brezovský, Barbara Chovancová, Jozef Kormančík, Juraj Ksiažek, Miroslav Lehocký, Vladimír Mucha, Stanislav Ondruš and Ľudovít Remeník, who provided tissue samples, collected faecal samples or provided information on Slovak chamois populations; and Andrea Hájková, Pavla Křížová, Hana Konvičková, Radka Poláková and Jan Zima jr., who helped with laboratory analysis. We also thank Jozef Kormančík for preparation of the distribution figure; Stuart J. E. Baird, Bruce Rannala, Tomaž Skrbinšek and Martin Straka for useful methodological suggestions and help with computational procedures. We further thank two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript and Kevin Roche and Jan Roleček for linguistic improvements. Bioinformatics analysis was conducted at the computation cluster at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Brno. This research was financially supported through Grant no. IAA600930609 of the Grant Agency of the Czech Academy of Sciences and through institutional support RVO: 68081766.

Supplementary material

10592_2015_696_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (604 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 604 kb)
10592_2015_696_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 208 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbora Zemanová
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Petra Hájková
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bedřich Hájek
    • 4
  • Natália Martínková
    • 1
    • 5
  • Peter Mikulíček
    • 1
    • 6
  • Jan Zima
    • 1
  • Josef Bryja
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Biologythe Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Administration of Slovenský Raj National ParkState Nature Conservancy of the Slovak RepublicSpišská Nová VesSlovakia
  5. 5.Institute of Biostatistics and AnalysesMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Zoology, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius University in BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia
  7. 7.Institute of Vertebrate Biology, the Czech Academy of SciencesExternal research facility StudenecKoněšínCzech Republic

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