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Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Hendricks, S, Epstein, B, Schonfeld, B, Wiench, C, Hamede, R ORCID: 0000-0003-1526-225X, Jones, M ORCID: 0000-0001-7558-9022, Storfer, A and Hohenlohe, P 2017 , 'Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)' , Conservation Genetics, vol. 18, no. 4 , pp. 977-982 , doi: 10.1007/s10592-017-0939-5.

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Tasmanian devils face a combination of threats to persistence, including devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), an epidemic transmissible cancer. We used RAD sequencing to investigate genome-wide patterns of genetic diversity and geographic population structure. Consistent with previous results, we found very low genetic diversity in the species as a whole, and we detected two broad genetic clusters occupying the northwestern portion of the range, and the central and eastern portions. However, these two groups overlap across a broad geographic area, and differentiation between them is modest (FST = 0.1081). Our results refine the geographic extent of the zone of mixed ancestry and substructure within it, potentially informing management of genetic variation that existed in pre-diseased populations of the species. DFTD has spread across both genetic clusters, but recent evidence points to a genomic response to selection imposed by DFTD. Any allelic variation for resistance to DFTD may be able to spread across the devil population under selection by DFTD, and/or be present as standing variation in both genetic regions.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hendricks, S and Epstein, B and Schonfeld, B and Wiench, C and Hamede, R and Jones, M and Storfer, A and Hohenlohe, P
Keywords: conservation genomics, devil facial tumor disease, gene flow, population bottlenecks, RAD sequencing, transmissible cancer
Journal or Publication Title: Conservation Genetics
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
ISSN: 1566-0621
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s10592-017-0939-5
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Copyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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