Cross-specific markers reveal retention of genetic diversity in captive-bred pygmy hog, a critically endangered suid

  • Deepanwita Purohit
  • Muthuvarmadam Subramanian Ram
  • Virendra Kumar Pandey
  • Satya Pravalika
  • Parag Jyoti Deka
  • Goutam Narayan
  • Govindhaswamy UmapathyEmail author
Methods and Resources Article


As part of the species recovery plan for the critically endangered pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), a conservation-breeding program was initiated, to bolster its wild population. For successful conservation-breeding, it is essential to maintain 90% of the founder genetic diversity over time. Therefore, in the present study, we assessed the genetic diversity of a captive population of pygmy hog across generations using a set of ten, cross-specific microsatellite markers. Our results indicated a genetically heterozygous captive population (HE = 0.603), with stable expected heterozygosities across generations. However, the most recent generation showed a significant decrease in individual heterozygosities, implying possible genetic inbreeding. The current findings warrant a need for genetic evaluation to inform future conservation-breeding decisions. In addition, we also designed and tested primers for PCR-based species and sex-identification in the pygmy hog. The markers standardised in the present study would also help in evaluating the survival and ecology of the reintroduced populations.


Pygmy hog Conservation-breeding Genetic diversity Molecular markers Population monitoring 



The study was supported by Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA), Government of India and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The key partners of Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme are Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, IUCN-SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group, Assam Forest Dept., MoEF&CC Govt. of India and EcoSystems-India.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors share no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which studies were conducted.

Supplementary material

12686_2019_1091_MOESM1_ESM.docx (279 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 278 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deepanwita Purohit
    • 1
  • Muthuvarmadam Subramanian Ram
    • 1
  • Virendra Kumar Pandey
    • 1
  • Satya Pravalika
    • 1
  • Parag Jyoti Deka
    • 2
  • Goutam Narayan
    • 2
  • Govindhaswamy Umapathy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.LaCONES, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular BiologyHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Pygmy Hog Conservation ProgrammeEcoSystems India and Durrell Wildlife Conservation TrustGuwahatiIndia

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