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Population genetic structure of wild and farmed rusa deer (Cervus timorensis russa) in New-Caledonia inferred from polymorphic microsatellite loci

De Garine-Wichatitsky M., De Meeus T., Chevillon C., Berthier D., Barré N., Thevenon S., Maillard J.C.. 2009. Genetica, 137 (3) : p. 313-323.

DOI: 10.1007/s10709-009-9395-6

Historical records indicate that 12 rusa deer (Cervus timorensis russa) were introduced in New- Caledonia during the 1870s. We used eight polymorphic microsatellite DNA loci to assess the genetic differentiation and diversity of farmed and wild deer populations. Past genetic bottlenecks were detected in both sub-populations, although higher genetic diversity was maintained in farmed populations, probably due to the regular introduction of reproducers from wild populations and from other farms. The genetic structure of farmed and wild populations differed significantly. There was a significant isolation by distance for wild populations, whereas farmed populations were significantly differentiated between farms independently from their geographical proximity. Wild rusa deer consisted of small populations (with effective population sizes ranging between 7 and 19 individuals depending on the methods used), with a low parent-offspring dispersion range (0.20-2.02 km). Genetic tools and direct observations provided congruent estimates of dispersion and population sizes. We discuss the relevance of our results for management purposes.

Mots-clés : cervus; animal sauvage; animal domestique; génétique des populations; microsatellite; dynamique des populations; distance génétique; variation génétique; nouvelle-calédonie; france; cervus timorensis

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