Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 416795
Title Strong decline of gene diversity in local populations of the highly endangered Common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) in the western part of its European range
Author(s) Haye, M.J.J. la; Neumann, K.; Koelewijn, H.P.
Source Conservation Genetics 13 (2012)2. - ISSN 1566-0621 - p. 311 - 322.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10592-011-0278-x
Department(s) CE - Molecular Ecology Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) bottlenecks - conservation - variability - drift - l.
Abstract The Common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) has declined by more than 99% in the westernmost part of its range in Belgium, the Netherlands and the adjacent German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (BNN region) during recent decades. Various conservation schemes are ongoing to support the remaining populations, including restoration of the habitat, captive breeding and reintroductions. One of the factors determining the success of conservation actions is the genetic constitution of the remaining populations. We therefore measured the genetic variation in current BNN hamster populations and compared the outcome with the genetic variation in museum samples from the historical, non-fragmented, population. Most of the current populations have lost the majority of their rare alleles and individual animals have become nearly homozygous. Since different alleles became fixed in different populations, this has resulted in strong genetic differentiation between current populations and reflects the strength of drift and inbreeding processes in small and isolated populations. Despite this differentiation, the total gene diversity of these small populations combined is not much less than that of the historical population. Hence, the main genetic difference between historical and present is not in terms of total genetic variation or number of alleles in the BNN region, but in the distribution of this variation over the populations.
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