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THÉVENON S., BONNET A., CLARO F., MAILLARD J.C. (2003)

Genetic diversity analysis of captive populations : the Vietnamese sika deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis) in zoological parks.

Zoo Biology 22:  465-475.

Zusammenfassung:

The Vietnamese sika deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis) is an endangered subspecies; it has disappeared in the wild, but is being bred in zoological parks. We studied the neutral genetic diversity and population structure of herds kept in different European zoos, using nine microsatellite loci. The goal was to evaluate the consequences of founding effects and breeding practices on the level and structure of genetic variability. The level of genetic diversity within the European zoos is not lower than that of the populations kept in Vietnamese farms. Strong differences among zoological parks and between the European group and the Vietnamese population were detected. This is probably due to founding effects, genetic drift, and possibly hybridization in both Europe and Vietnam. We expected to find a much lower level of genetic diversity in Europe. The current overall level of genetic diversity is probably due to the recent introduction of Cuc Phuong individuals, and to important differences among the populations of different zoological parks, which increase the total genetic variability. Although the current level of genetic variability is not particularly low, future levels are probably threatened by the current herd sizes and structure. Based on these results, management guidelines are proposed.

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