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Interpopulational and intrapopulational genetic diversity of the endangered Itasenpara bitterling (Acheilognathus longipinnis) with reference to its demographic history

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To conserve endangered species, maintenance of both interpopulational and intrapopulational genetic diversity is often required in wild populations. For the Itasenpara bitterling (Acheilognathus longipinnis), its limited number of habitats in three areas of Japan are all threatened. In this study, microsatellite data were obtained from DNA sampled from all three wild populations to evaluate the interpopulational and intrapopulational genetic diversity of A. longipinnis. The genetic uniqueness of each population and genetic differentiation among populations were determined, which are probably due to both spatial and temporal isolation among populations. Both the long-term and contemporary effective population sizes (Ne) were estimated for all populations. In all populations, the presence of historic and recent bottlenecks was estimated. For the population from the Moo River, which has the smallest habitat area and the highest number of individuals, Bayesian skyline plots demonstrated a drastic decrease in effective population size, likely caused by anthropogenic habitat modification in the past. The population from the Kiso River demonstrated a similar trend in genetic demography to the population from the Moo River. In contrast, a gradual decline in Ne was observed in the population from the Yodo River, which continued until recently. The populations from the Moo and Kiso rivers are deemed to be critically endangered due to the loss of heterozygosity. Therefore, conservation efforts are needed to maintain and promote genetic diversity in each population, both through habitat conservation and captive breeding efforts.

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We are grateful to members of the Himi Collaborative Research Laboratory, Gifu World Fresh Water Aquarium, and Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, Osaka for their support rearing fish and completing experiments. We also thank Mr. S. S. Satoh for his assistance of the drawing.

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Correspondence to Yuji Yamazaki.

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Yamazaki, Y., Uehara, K., Ikeya, K. et al. Interpopulational and intrapopulational genetic diversity of the endangered Itasenpara bitterling (Acheilognathus longipinnis) with reference to its demographic history. Conserv Genet 21, 55–64 (2020).

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  • Bayesian skyline plots
  • Effective population size
  • Genetic diversity
  • Heterozygosity loss
  • Itasenpara bitterling
  • Microsatellite analysis