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Molecular Analyses Reveal Unexpected Genetic Structure in Iberian Ibex Populations

AuthorsAlasaad, Samer ; Biebach, Iris; Pérez, Jesús M.; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Granados, José E.
Issue Date2017
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE, 12(1): e017082 (2017)
AbstractBackground Genetic differentiation in historically connected populations could be the result of genetic drift or adaptation, two processes that imply a need for differing strategies in population management. The aim of our study was to use neutral genetic markers to characterize C. pyrenaica populations genetically and examine results in terms of (i) demographic history, (ii) subspecific classification and (iii) the implications for the management of Iberian ibex. Methodology/Principal Findings We used 30 neutral microsatellite markers from 333 Iberian ibex to explore genetic diversity in the three main Iberian ibex populations in Spain corresponding to the two persisting subspecies (victoria and hispanica). Our molecular analyses detected recent genetic bottlenecks in all the studied populations, a finding that coincides with the documented demographic decline in C. pyrenaica in recent decades. Genetic divergence between the two C. pyrenaica subspecies (hispanica and victoriae) was substantial (FST between 0.39 and 0.47). Unexpectedly, we found similarly high genetic differentiation between two populations (Sierra Nevada and Maestrazgo) belonging to the subspecies hispanica. The genetic pattern identified in our study could be the result of strong genetic drift due to the severe genetic bottlenecks in the studied populations, caused in turn by the progressive destruction of natural habitat, disease epidemics and/or uncontrolled hunting. Conclusions Previous Capra pyrenaica conservation decision-making was based on the clear distinction between the two subspecies (victoriae and hispanica); yet our paper raises questions about the usefulness for conservation plans of the distinction between these subspecies.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170827
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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