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Population and genetic structure of a male-dispersing strepsirrhine, Galago moholi (Primates, Galagidae), from northern South Africa, inferred from mitochondrial DNA

Abstract

The habitats of Galago moholi are suspected to be largely fragmented, while the species is thought to be expanding further into the southernmost fringe of its range, as well as into human settlements. To date, no intraspecific molecular genetic studies have been published on G. moholi. Here we estimate the genetic diversity and connectivity of populations of G. moholi using two mitochondrial gene regions, the cytochrome C oxidase subunit I gene (COI) and the displacement loop of the control region (D-loop). Samples from five localities in northern South Africa were obtained from archived collections. The two mitochondrial DNA gene regions were amplified and sequenced to provide population summary statistics, differentiation [proportion of the total genetic variation in a population relative to the total genetic variance of all the populations (FST), differentiation within populations among regions (ΦST)], genetic distance and structure. There was discernible genetic structure among the individuals, with two COI and six D-loop haplotypes belonging to two genetically different groups. There was population differentiation among regions (FST = 0.670; ΦST = 0.783; P < 0.01). However, there were low levels of differentiation among populations, as haplotypes were shared between distant populations. Adjacent populations were as divergent from each other as from distant populations. The results suggest that genetic introgression, most likely due to past migrations or recent unintentional translocations that include the animal trade, may have led to connectivity among populations.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the late Dr Ian Gaigher and thank Dr Adrian Tordiffe, Mr Mark Howitt and numerous NZG/SANBI veterinary and laboratory staff for their assistance and facilitation of data collection at the Lajuma Research Centre and the Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre. We also thank Channen Long and Dr Robert Campbell for providing samples to the Biobank. This project was partly funded by the National Research Foundation Professional Development Programme for M Phukuntsi Grant number UID96733. Funding for M. L. S. and F. P. C. came from the University of Colorado-Boulder (USA), with additional support from NZG/SANBI.

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Correspondence to Desiré L. Dalton.

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Phukuntsi, M.A., Du Plessis, M., Dalton, D.L. et al. Population and genetic structure of a male-dispersing strepsirrhine, Galago moholi (Primates, Galagidae), from northern South Africa, inferred from mitochondrial DNA . Primates 62, 667–675 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-021-00912-y

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Keywords

  • Galago moholi
  • Population genetics
  • Strepsirrhini
  • Genetic diversity
  • Bushbaby