Genomic diversity and geographical structure of the Pyrenean desman
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- Querejeta, M., González-Esteban, J., Gómez, A. et al. Conserv Genet (2016) 17: 1333. doi:10.1007/s10592-016-0865-y
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The Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) is a small semi-aquatic mammal endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. The species has recently experienced a strong decline and some of its populations are severely threatened with extinction. To help in the preservation of this species, it is critical to understand its genetic structure and main evolutionary units, as these may have specific local adaptations and could be of great conservation value. Sequencing reduced representation libraries (ddRAD) from 26 specimens selected from across its entire range, we obtained around 45,000 loci per specimen and 1185 single nucleotide polymorphisms. Heterozygosity varied substantially among individuals from different areas. Interestingly, specimens from the southeastern Pyrenees had some of the lowest proportions of heterozygous positions inferred from genome-wide data in mammals so far. In addition, we estimated a tree reflecting genomic divergence, performed a principal component analysis, and carried out a Bayesian analysis of the population structure. Combined evidence supported the existence of five distinct genomic clusters largely coincident with the main mountain ranges where the species occurs, with few specimens presenting relevant admixture levels. There was good correspondence between these populations and the mitochondrial lineages detected in a previous study, yet substantial differences in some areas demonstrate the importance of performing genomic analysis to reveal the whole population history. Although the analysis of further specimens is necessary to better characterize the distribution of the different evolutionary units, the distinctive geographical structure of this species revealed by the genomic data should be considered in future conservation plans.