Conservation Genetics

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 365–370 | Cite as

Conservation genetics of the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

  • Sarah M. Brown
  • Bronwyn A. Houlden


We analysed genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region in the Diceros bicornis minor and D. b. michaelianimals at the Western Plains Zoo, which form part of an international ex-situ breeding program. Six of the nine D. b. minor animals were wild-caught from Zimbabwe during the 1990s, and our study revealed five distinct mtDNA haplotypes, and a haplotype diversity of 0.86 in the colony. Phylogenetic relationships between mtDNA haplotypes analyzed using the neighbor joining method reveal that for the small sample available, D. b. minor and D. b. michaeli are reciprocally monophyletic and represent separate ancestral lineages. Nucleotide divergence between the black and and white rhinoceros(Ceratotherium simum) was 14.0%, and nucleotide divergencebetween the D. b. minor and the D. b. michaeli subspecies was 2.6%. This suggests a divergence time for the two blackrhinoceros subspecies of between 0.93 MY and 1.3 MY.

control region mitochondrial DNA phylogeography rhinoceros 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology UnitAustralian MuseumSydneyAustralia;
  2. 2.Division of Ecosystem ManagementUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of New South WalesAustralia;
  4. 4.Zoological Parks Board of NSWMosmanAustralia

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