Captive breeding and reintroduction of the Lesser kestrel Falco naumanni: a genetic analysis using microsatellites

Article · February 2009with106 Reads
DOI: 10.1007/s10592-009-9810-7
Abstract
We used microsatellites to assess ongoing captive breeding and reintroduction programs of the lesser kestrel. The extent of genetic variation within the captive populations analysed did not differ significantly from that reported in wild populations. Thus, the application of widely recommended management practices, such as the registration of crosses between individuals in proper stud books and the introduction of new individuals into the genetic pools, has proven satisfactory to maintain high levels of genetic variation. The high rates of hatching failure occasionally documented in captivity can therefore not be attributed to depressed genetic variation. Even though genetic diversity in reintroduced populations did not differ significantly when compared to wild populations either, average observed heterozygosities and inbreeding coefficients were significantly lower and higher, respectively, when compared to the captive demes where released birds came. Monitoring of reproductive parameters during single-pairing breeding and paternity inference within colonial facilities revealed large variations in breeding success between reproductive adults. The relative number of breeding pairs that contributed to a large part of captive-born birds (50–56%) was similar in both cases (28.6 and 26.9%, respectively). Thus, the chances for polygyny (rarely in this study), extra-pair paternity (not found in this study) and/or social stimulation of breeding parameters do not seem to greatly affect the genetically effective population size. Independently of breeding strategies, the release of unrelated fledglings into the same area and the promotion of immigration should be mandatory to counteract founder effects and avoid inbreeding in reintroduced populations of lesser kestrels.
1 Figures
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Captive breeding and reintroduction of the lesser kestrel
Falco naumanni: a genetic analysis using microsatellites
Miguel Alcaide Æ Juan J. Negro Æ David Serrano Æ
Jose
´
L. Antolı
´
n Æ Sara Casado Æ Manel Pomarol
Received: 2 February 2008 / Accepted: 15 January 2009 / Published online: 7 February 2009
Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009
Abstract We used microsatellites to assess ongoing
captive breeding and reintroduction programs of the lesser
kestrel. The extent of genetic variation within the captive
populations analysed did not differ significantly from that
reported in wild populations. Thus, the application of
widely recommended management practices, such as the
registration of crosses between individuals in proper stud
books and the introduction of new individuals into the
genetic pools, has proven satisfactory to maintain high
levels of genetic variation. The high rates of hatching
failure occasionally documented in captivity can therefore
not be attributed to depressed genetic variation. Even
though genetic diversity in reintroduced populations did
not differ significantly when compared to wild populations
either, average observed heterozygosities and inbreeding
coefficients were significantly lower and higher, respec-
tively, when compared to the captive demes where released
birds came. Monitoring of reproductive parameters during
single-pairing breeding and paternity inference within
colonial facilities revealed large variations in breeding
success between reproductive adults. The relative number
of breeding pairs that contributed to a large part of captive-
born birds (50–56%) was similar in both cases (28.6 and
26.9%, respectively). Thus, the chances for polygyny
(rarely in this study), extra-pair paternity (not found in this
study) and/or social stimulation of breeding parameters do
not seem to greatly affect the genetically effective popu-
lation size. Independently of breeding strategies, the
release of unrelated fledglings into the same area and the
promotion of immigration should be mandatory to coun-
teract founder effects and avoid inbreeding in reintroduced
populations of lesser kestrels.
Keywords Genetic diversity Conservation genetics
Effective population size Founder effect
Mixed reproductive strategies
Introduction
Captive breeding of endangered species has become a
widespread practice to provide individuals for reintroduc-
tion or supplementation programs for extinct or declining
populations. Although traditional approaches have tried to
identify ecological and behavioural constraints affecting
the short-term success of these initiatives (e.g. Hirzel et al.
2004; Martı
´
nez-Meyer et al. 2006), most monitoring pro-
grams do not take full advantage of the potential afforded
by molecular markers. Monitoring population genetic
metrics can provide insights into relevant processes that are
difficult or impossible to study via traditional approaches
(e.g. Schwartz et al. 2006). For example, captive breeding
and reintroduction programs could potentially be counter-
productive if the genetic consequences of the various
M. Alcaide (&) J. J. Negro D. Serrano
Estacio
´
n Biolo
´
gica de Don
˜
ana (CSIC), Pabello
´
n de Peru
´
,
Avda. Ma Luisa s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
e-mail: malcaide@ebd.csic.es
J. L. Antolı
´
n
DEMA, Defensa y Estudio del Medio Ambiente,
Crı
´
a del cernı
´
calo primilla, Ctra. Fuente del Maestre, km 17,
06200 Almendralejo, Spain
S. Casado
GREFA, Grupo de Rehabilitacio
´
n de la Fauna Auto
´
ctona y su
Ha
´
bitat, Apdo. 11, 28220 Majadahonda, Spain
M. Pomarol
Centro de Recuperacio
´
n de Torreferrusa, Servici Protecio
´
Gestio
´
Fauna. Carretera Sabadell-Sta, Perpetua de la Moguda,
Km. 4,5, 08037 Barcelona, Spain
123
Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338
DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9810-7
management options are not fully considered (Woodworth
et al. 2002; Gilligan and Frankham 2003). In this respect,
loss of genetic variation linked to founder effects and
inbreeding may have serious fitness consequences and can
jeopardize the evolutionary and adaptive potential of
populations and species (Frankham et al. 2002).
The lesser kestrel Falco naumanni was one of the most
abundant raptors in Europe before a sharp population
decline which began in the late 1960 s (Bijleveld 1974). As
a result, this small migratory and facultatively colonial
falcon totally or partially disappeared from several loca-
tions of its former breeding range (Biber 1990), and is now
patchily distributed from Portugal to China (Cramp and
Simmons 1980). To date, numerous captive breeding pro-
grams have successfully contributed to the reinforcement
and re-establishment of decimated or extinct populations in
Western Europe (e.g. Pomarol 1993) by using the method
of hacking (Sherrod et al. 1981).
In this study, we have performed the first genetic
assessment of ongoing captive breeding and reintroduction
programs of the globally vulnerable lesser kestrel (BirdLife
International 2004). Firstly, we investigated levels of
genetic diversity in captive populations. Hatching failure,
one of the most cited fitness consequences of inbreeding in
birds (e.g. Keller 1998; Morrow et al. 2002), has been
occasionally high in captivity in lesser kestrels ([50% of
fertile eggs; Cola
´
s et al. 2002), contrasting with the normal
values of this parameter in the wild (\10% of fertile eggs,
e.g. Serrano et al. 2005). In fact, hatching success in cap-
tivity is the only parameter which has not exceeded the
performance of the species in the wild (Pomarol et al.
2004a).
Secondly, we compared single-pairing (one male and
one female) versus colonial captive breeding (multiple
males and females) strategies. We focused on variations in
breeding success as primary determinants of genetically
effective population size (e.g. Nunney and Elam 1994;
Hedrick 2005). To this aim, we calculated the minimum
number of breeding pairs that contributed to a high pro-
portion of fledglings at two captive centres working on
single-pairing into individual pens. Paternity of fledglings
within colonial enclosures can only be confirmed through
genetic inference, and therefore, we employed polymor-
phic microsatellites to infer kinship. Two hypotheses can
be made in this respect. The first hypothesis would predict
an increase of the variance in male breeding success
because of mixed reproductive strategies such as those
observed, although at low rates, in wild colonies [see
exceptional polygynous mating systems in Tella et al.
(1996) and low extra-pair paternity rates \7.5% in Alcaide
et al. (2005)]. Alternatively, the simulation of colonial
environments may stimulate the breeding behaviour of
individuals which could otherwise remain sexually inactive
(see for instance Waas et al. 2005), with the subsequent
increase in overall productivity compared to single-breed-
ing pairs.
Finally, we evaluated the extent of genetic variation that
has been successfully transmitted from captive stocks to
reintroduced populations to help optimize the main genetic
goal of a reintroduction program. In this respect, it is
widely assumed that high levels of genetic diversity max-
imize the possibilities of re-establishing a self-sustaining
population in the long term (e.g. Ballou and Lacy 1995;
Frankham et al. 2002).
Materials and methods
Captive, reintroduced and wild populations
In Spain, three captive populations kept by non-government
organizations for Native fauna and its Habitat Rehabilitation
‘‘ GR E FA ’’ ( www.grefa.org), Defence and Study of Natural
Environment ‘DEMA’ (www.demaprimilla.org)andthewild-
life recovery center of Torreferrusa attached to the Cata-
lonian government ‘TORREF’ (http://mediambient.
gencat.cat/cat/el_medi/fauna/fauna_auctoctona/centres/torrefe
rrussa.jsp) were investigated (see Fig. 1). Founder indi-
viduals of captive demes, usually injured birds which
could not be rehabilitated and returned into the wild, were
derived from different locations belonging to the main
Spanish population or translocated from other captive
populations. Management actions of breeders encompass
the registration of crosses between individuals in proper
stud books and the introduction of new individuals into
Fig. 1 Breeding distribution of the lesser kestrel in Western Europe.
Reintroduced (black asterisks) and captive (white asterisks) popula-
tions investigated in this study are indicated. See Table 1 for codes
332 Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338
123
the genetic pools to avoid inbreeding. The proportion of
birds which annually die (about 5%) is easily replaced
given that this option is not constrained by the number of
lesser kestrels available in the study area (see Table 1;
Pomaroletal.2004a for more details). To date, different
captive stocks have contributed to several reintroduc-
tion and reinforcement programs in Spain and France
(e.g. Pomarol et al. 2004a, http://crecerellette.lpo.fr/life/
life.html).
Three reintroduced populations of lesser kestrels (Lleida
and Gerona in Catalonia plus La Rioja, Fig. 1) were also
investigated. The lesser kestrel disappeared from Catalonia
(North Eastern Spain) as a breeding species in 1986. A
reintroduction program beginning in 1989 has led to a
population distributed in two main nuclei (Gerona and
Lleida) which was estimated at 94 breeding pairs in 2003
(see Pomarol et al. 2004b). The lesser kestrel also disap-
peared from La Rioja (Central Northern Spain) around the
second half of the XX century. After an evaluation of
habitat suitability for the reintroduction of the species, the
first colony was founded in 1997 by the release by hacking
and subsequent return after migration of captive-born birds
(Lopo et al. 2004 for more details). The population size of
this colony was estimated at 13 breeding pairs by 2003.
Finally, four geographically distinct natural populations
(Southern France, Ebro Valley, Spanish core area and
Portugal) were analysed to provide comparative data (see
Table 1; Fig. 1).
Sampling and DNA extraction
Biological samples for genetic analyses were obtained
from wild and reintroduced populations during the 2002
and 2003 breeding seasons. Only one nestling per brood
was analysed to minimize the sampling of related indi-
viduals. In 2004, we sampled the breeding stocks of DEMA
and GREFA (see Table 1) as well as the captive-born
progeny produced at the two largest colonial pens of
DEMA (N = 96 nestlings).
The DNA extraction protocol we used follows that
described by Gemmell and Akiyama (1996). Blood and
feathers tips were digested by incubating with proteinase K
in 300 ll of a buffered solution for at least 3 h. Proteins were
selectively discarded by adding 1 volume of a 5 M LiCl
solution and two volumes of chloroform–isoamylic alcohol
(24:1). After centrifugation at maximum speed, DNA was
precipitated using two volumes of absolute ethanol. Pellets
thus obtained were dried and washed twice with 70% etha-
nol, and later stored at -20°C in 0.1 ml of TE buffer.
Microsatellite genotyping
We amplified nine microsatellite markers originally iso-
lated from the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus (Fp5,
Fp13, Fp31, Fp46-1, Fp79-4, Fp89, Fp107, see Nesje et al.
2000; Cl347 and Cl58, see Alcaide et al. 2008a). For each
locus, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out
in a PTC-100 Programmable Thermal Controller (MJ
Research Inc., Waltham, MA, USA) using the following
PCR profile: 35 cycles of 40 s at 94°C, 40 s at 55°C, 40 s
at 72°C and finally, 4 min at 72°C. Each 11 ll reaction
contained 0.2 units of Taq polymerase (Bioline, London,
UK), 19 manufacturer-supplied buffer, 1.5 mM MgCl
2
,
0.02% gelatine, 0.12 mM of each dNTP, 5 pmol of each
primer and, approximately, 10 ng of genomic DNA. For-
ward primers were 5
0
-end labelled with HEX, NED or
6-FAM fluorocroms. Amplified fragments were resolved
on an ABI Prism 3100 Genetic Analyser and later scored
Table 1 Polymorphism statistics of wild (W), captive (C) and reintroduced (R) populations of lesser kestrels across 8 microsatellites
Population size Code N Number of alleles per locus HeHo Rs F
IS
Fp5 Fp13 Fp31 Fp46 Fp79 Fp89 Cl347 Cl58
Southern France (W) \100 BP FRA 26 5 3 6 6 17 3 6 3 0.60–0.60 4.59 0.04
Ebro Valley (W) \1,000 BP EBV 174 6 4 7 10 33 4 10 5 0.65–0.64 4.92 0.026
Spanish core area (W)
12,000–19,000 BP
SCA 207 6 4 7 9 38 4 11 5 0.65–0.65 5.12 0.014
Portugal (W) \300 BP POR 25 6 3 6 7 19 3 8 3 0.66–0.65 5.06 0.016
GREFA (C) \100 BP 32 6 3 7 9 25 4 9 3 0.68–0.67 5.33 0.028
DEMA (C) \100 BP 59 6 4 7 7 28 4 8 4 0.67–0.68 5.04 -0.007
Gerona (R) \50 BP GER 14 5 4 6 4 16 3 5 3 0.64–0.62 4.93 0.078
Lleida (R) \100 BP LLE 25 5 3 4 7 21 4 8 4 0.63–0.61 4.95 0.060
La Rioja (R) \50 BP LRI 16 4 4 5 7 14 3 8 3 0.63–0.64 5.02 0.011
The number of alleles detected at each marker in each population is indicated in its corresponding column. The number of individuals sampled at
each population (N), expected heterozygosities (He), average observed heterozygosities (Ho) and allelic richness (Rs) estimates are showed.
Allelic richness estimates were based on a minimum number of 14 individuals. Estimated population sizes in breeding pairs (BP) when the
samples were taken are also given. See Fig. 1 for geographical locations
Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338 333
123
using the GenMapper software version 3.5 (Applied Bio-
systems, Foster City, CA, USA).
Genetic analyses
We excluded locus Fp107 from our analyses since previous
paternity and population genetic studies conducted for lesser
kestrels have shown the occurrence of null alleles and sig-
nificant heterozygosity deficits at this locus (see Alcaide
et al. 2005, 2008a, b, 2009). No mismatches in the segre-
gation of alleles from parents to offspring, significant
deviations from Hardy–Weinberg expectations or evidence
of linkage disequilibrium between any pair of loci have been
detected in previous studies after using the same molecular
methods. We therefore employed the permutation test
(N = 10,000) implemented in the program FSTAT ver 2.9.3
(Goudet 2001) to test for significant differences in genetic
diversity among captive, wild and reintroduced populations.
In order to avoid putative biases caused by uneven sampling,
the software FSTAT calculates a standardised estimate of
allelic richness (R
S
) independent of sample size. Average
observed heterozygosity (Ho) and the inbreeding coefficient
F
IS
were also calculated and compared using FSTAT. The
extent of population differentiation was calculated accord-
ing to the traditional F
ST
estimate using the software
GENETIX 4.04 (Belkhir et al. 1996). The significance of
pairwise F
ST
estimates was given by a P-value calculated
using 10,000 random permutations tests that were further
adjusted according to sequential Bonferroni corrections for
multiple tests (Rice 1989).
Paternity inference within colonial enclosures
We inferred paternity at the two largest colonial breeding
pens that were kept at DEMA facilities during the 2004
breeding season. Such colonial enclosures contained 36
and 16 adult kestrels, respectively, supplied with ad libitum
feeding. All individuals were identifiable through PVC
rings. Colonial enclosures consisted of several labelled
nest-boxes which could be manipulated from the exterior
of the building. Thus, eggs could be easily removed
without disturbing the whole colony. All eggs were label-
led according to where the nests they were laid to control
for the origin of the artificially reared nestlings. Nests
boxes were also provided with devices to observe the
inside of the nest. Incubating females could therefore be
identified. This fact, jointly with the registration of copu-
lation events between marked birds, allowed us to elucidate
what breeding pairs were attending each particular nest.
All adult birds and nestlings were genotyped at six out
of the nine microsatellite markers mentioned above (Fp5,
Fp31, Fp46-1, Fp79-4, Fp89 and Cl347). Locus Fp107 was
excluded because of mismatches, probably due to the
amplification of null alleles, in the segregation of alleles
from parents to offspring (see Alcaide et al. 2005 for
details). There was no special reason for excluding Loci
Fp13 and Cl58 except for their comparably low polymor-
phism and because of the aim of accelerating the data
collection process without compromising the resolution
power of the molecular approach. Parentage exclusion for
first and second parents, as well as the probability of two
individuals sharing the same genotype was calculated with
CERVUS 2.0 (Marshall et al. 1998) and IDENTITY 1.0
(Wagner and Sefc 1999), respectively. Mendelian inheri-
tance was checked at every locus in each particular case.
Those nestlings sharing alleles from their putative parents
at all loci were considered actual offspring of the couple.
The genotypes of the remaining males in the colony were
also checked to assure unequivocal paternity assignments.
Those cases in which nestlings would fail to match any of
the two alleles of the putative father at two or more loci
were considered as the result of extra-pair paternity.
Calculation of variances in breeding success of captive
kestrels during single-pairing breeding strategies
From 1996 to 2007, the number of fledglings produced
by 35 reproductive lesser kestrels kept in TORREF was
registered. The number of fledglings produced by 70
reproductive adults kept in GREFA was available from
2005 to 2007 breeding seasons. In both cases, we focused
exclusively on those kestrels that raised offspring, so these
numbers did not include non-breeding birds. We calculated
the minimum number of breeding pairs that contributed to
a high proportion of fledglings during the period of time
investigated in each particular case.
Results
Genetic diversity in captive populations
The permutation test performed in FSTAT did not report
statistically significant differences in allelic richness (5.04 vs.
5.18), average observed heterozygosities (0.64 vs. 0.68) or the
inbreeding coefficient F
IS
(0.021 vs. 0.006) between wild and
captive populations after analysing eight polymorphic
microsatellite markers (all two-tailed P-values [ 0.05, see
Table 1).
Both captive populations analysed (DEMA and
GREFA) were genetically differentiated from the Ebro
Valley and the French populations, but pair-wise F
ST
estimates did not significantly differ from 0 when com-
pared to wild populations from southwestern Iberia (SCA
and POR, Table 2).
334 Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338
123
Single pairing versus colonial breeding strategies
The analysis of the breeding performance data set from the
captive stocks of GREFA and TORREF revealed that, in
both cases, only a low proportion of breeding pairs (28.6%)
contributed to at least one half of the total number of
fledglings produced (50 and 56%, respectively). Paternity
inference within the colonial enclosures kept at DEMA
facilities revealed similar results, with only seven breeding
pairs (26.9% of the reproductive birds) contributing to 56%
of the fledglings produced during the 2004 breeding
season. Concerning mixed-reproductive strategies, we
detected two cases of sequential polygyny, i.e. males
raising two broods with successive females, in the largest
colonial pen in DEMA. On the contrary, no genetic evi-
dence of extra-pair paternity was found. All paternity
assignments were assigned unequivocally, especially due
to the highly polymorphic locus Fp79-4 (Table 1). The
combined probability of exclusion for the microsatellite
marker set that we used was estimated at 0.95. The like-
lihood of two individuals carrying an identical genotype
was estimated at 6.21 9 10
-6
.
Genetic diversity in reintroduced populations
We did not find statistically significant differences in allelic
richness (5.04 vs. 4.97), average observed heterozygosities
(0.64 vs. 0.62) or the inbreeding coefficient F
IS
(0.021 vs.
0.049) between wild and reintroduced populations (all two-
tailed P-values [ 0.05). However, reintroduced popula-
tions showed statistically significant lower average
heterozygosities (0.62 vs. 0.68) and higher inbreeding
coefficients F
IS
(0.049 vs. 0.006) in relation to the captive
demes from which released birds came (two-tailed P-val-
ues = 0.012 and 0.031, respectively).
Reintroduced populations only showed statistically sig-
nificant evidence of genetic differentiation when compared
to the geographically isolated population from Southern
France (Fig. 1; Table 2). Genetic divergence in relation to
the French population is comparably high in spite of
the geographic proximity of reintroduced populations.
Thus, reintroduced populations somewhat depart from the
isolation-by-distance patterns documented for natural
populations of lesser kestrels in Eurasia (see Alcaide et al.
2008a, b, 2009 for details).
Discussion
This study supports the utility of several management rec-
ommendations, such as the registration of crosses between
individuals in proper stud books and the frequent introduc-
tion of new individuals into the genetic pools, to maintain
high levels of genetic diversity in captive populations of
lesser kestrels without previous genetic monitoring. Poly-
morphisms statistics at 8 microsatellite markers in lesser
kestrels argue against low genetic variation as a primary
cause of the comparably low and occasionally very low
hatching rates documented in captivity (see Cola
´
s et al.
2002; Pomarol et al. 2004a). Rather, high rates of hatching
failure could be linked to other factors such as the feeding
conditions of the breeding stock and/or the management of
the eggs (e.g. Pomarol et al. 2004a). F
ST
-pairwise estimates
also revealed that both captive demes analysed did not differ
significantly from their natural source population, a fact that
reinforces the absence of strong fluctuations in the distri-
bution of allele frequencies.
Genetic diversity in reintroduced populations did not
differ significantly from natural populations in the absence
of previous genetic monitoring either. From the perspective
of population structuring, the departure of reintroduced
populations from naturally occurring isolation-by-distance
patterns (see Alcaide et al. 2008a, b) can be attributed to
the lack of migration-drift equilibrium in recently founded
populations (see for instance Leberg and Ellsworth 1999;
DeYoung et al. 2003). However, our results suggest that
Table 2 F
ST
-pairwise values (above diagonal) between four geographically distinct natural populations of lesser kestrels (W), captive (C) and
reintroduced populations (R)
EBV (W) SCA (W) POR (W) FRA (W) GER (R) LLE (R) LRI (R) GREFA (C) DEMA (C)
EBV (W) 0.003* 0.005 0.012* 0.008 0.006 0.013 0.010* 0.008*
SCA (W) 0.004 0.016* 0.010 0.006 0.009 0.006 0.006
POR (W) 0.027* 0.007 0 0.010 0.003 0.008
FRA (W) 0.019* 0.028* 0.032* 0.033* 0.025*
GER (R) 0.001 0.030* 0.017 0.013
LLE (R) 0.012 0.010 0.010
LRI (R) 0.013 0.014
GREFA (C) 0.005
Significant values after Bonferroni corrections for multiple tests are indicated by asterisks. See Fig. 1 for geographic locations
Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338 335
123
uneven contributions of reproductive birds to the captive-
born progenies may be responsible for a non-optimal
transmission of genetic diversity from captive stocks to
reintroduced populations. This fact, which has been already
documented in the literature for other captive flocks (e.g.
McLean et al. 2008), is particularly important in lesser
kestrels since many of the most prolific breeding pairs are
forced to produce a second and even a third clutch during
the same breeding season (Pomarol et al. 2004a;J.L.
Antolı
´
n et al., personal communication). As this study
shows, large variations in reproductive success of indi-
viduals are similarly occurring for both single-pairing and
colonial breeding facilities, with only about one-fourth of
the reproductive birds producing 50–56% of fledglings.
Hence, the occurrence of polygynous behaviours at low
rates does not seem to significantly decrease the effective
population size. The lack of extra-pair fertilizations, on the
other hand, suggests that an increase in mate guarding
might have overridden the effects of large breeding den-
sities or female promiscuity in colonial breeding systems
with ad libitum feeding. Our results do not seem to support
smaller variances in individual breeding success linked to
social stimulation of breeding and a broader availability of
potential mates either.
Founder effects during both captive breeding and set-
tlement stages can be counteracted by minimizing the
release of related birds into the same location. A recent
study by Lenz et al. (2007) also suggests the utility of
manipulating sex-ratios to increase the effective population
size during captive breeding of this species. Immigration is
particularly important to diminish average genetic simi-
larity and increase overall heterozygosity, as it has been
already demonstrated by Ortego et al. (2007) in natural
population of lesser kestrels. The effect of conspecific
attraction in this respect is particularly well documented
(Serrano and Tella 2003; Serrano et al. 2004, but see
Calabuig et al. 2008), and thus, birds kept in pens or even
decoys can be regularly used in newly established colonies
to promote both settlement of released individuals and
recruitment of wild birds. As Pomarol et al. (2004b) have
previously indicated, immigration from the close Ebro
Valley population may have decisively contributed to
population growth in the reintroduced populations in
Catalonia (GER and LLE). Such gene flow events may also
explain the lack of significant patterns of genetic differ-
entiation between natural and reintroduced populations
(Table 2). Although immigration may involve individuals
dispersing long distances, as exemplified by one bird from
the Ebro Valley (North Eastern Spain) recruited as a
breeder 300 km away in the reintroduced population of
Villena (Middle Eastern Spain, M Alberdi, personal com-
munication), dispersal probabilities between populations
sharply decrease with geographic distance in this species
(Serrano and Tella 2003; Alcaide et al. 2008a, 2009).
Given that reintroduction programs may be necessary in
highly isolated areas where natural colonization and
immigration are highly improbable, reintroducing geneti-
cally diverse birds may be of importance to guarantee
population persistence.
In conclusion, this study revealed high levels of genetic
variation for ongoing but non-genetically monitored captive
breeding and reintroduction programs of the lesser kestrel.
However, we found a significant loss of genetic variation
from captive flocks to reintroduced populations because of
large variances in breeding performance of individuals.
Although the lesser kestrel program does not seem to be
seriously compromised by this finding, this information
could be crucial for highly endangered species in which the
number of founders remains below the recommended min-
imum (20–30 individuals), and where the incorporation rates
of new birds to refresh the genetic pools and natural gene
flow is comparably low. Undoubtedly, genetic monitoring is
a desirable practice to maximize reproductive success and
genetic variation in captive-born individuals which will be
subsequently released into the wild or used to supplement the
captive stocks (Frankham et al. 2002; see examples in
Gautschi et al. 2003; Ralls and Ballou 2004; Hedrick and
Fredrickson 2008). Genetic monitoring can however become
costly and time-consuming, especially if molecular markers
for the target species are not available. Since some conser-
vation initiatives cannot simply afford it, the experiences
summed from other captive breeding and reintroduction
programs can become of high assistance.
Acknowledgments We are indebted to all the people who kindly
helped to collect kestrel samples Therefore, we are thankful to J. L.
Tella, E. Ursu
´
a, A. Gajo
´
n, J. Blas, G. Lo
´
pez, C. Rodrı
´
guez, J. Bus-
tamante, R. Alca
´
zar, J. D Morenilla, P. Prieto, I. Sa
´
nchez, A. Garcı
´
a,
I. Ga
´
mez, F. Carbonell, G. Gonza
´
lez, R. Bonal, J. M. Aparicio, A. de
Frutos, P. Olea, E. Banda, C. Gutie
´
rrez, P. Pilard and L. Brun. We
especially thank people from the captive breeding centers of DEMA,
GREFA and TORREFERRUSA (M. Martı
´
n, F. Carbonell and others).
Daniel Janes and Tobias Lenz definitely contributed to improve this
manuscript. We are also indebt to the Associate Editor Dr. Vicki
Friesen and several anonymous reviewers for their kind and helpful
assistance during the peer-review process.This study was supported
by the MCyT (project REN2001-2310 and CGL2004-04120), which
also provided a research grant to M. Alcaide.
References
Alcaide M, Negro JJ, Serrano D, Tella JL, Rodriguez C (2005) Extra-
pair paternity in the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni: a re-
evaluation using microsatellite markers. Ibis 147:608–611. doi:
10.1111/j.1474-919x.2005.00429.x
Alcaide M, Edwards SV, Negro JJ, Serrano D, Tella JL (2008a)
Extensive polymorphism and geographical variation at a posi-
tively selected MHC class II B gene of the lesser kestrel (Falco
naumanni). Mol Ecol 17:2652–2665. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.
2008.03791.x
336 Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338
123
Alcaide M, Serrano D, Tella JL, Negro JJ (2008b) Strong philopatry
derived from capture–recapture records does not lead to fine-
scale genetic differentiation in lesser kestrels. J Anim Ecol. doi:
10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01493.x
Alcaide M, Serrano D, Negro JJ, Tella JL, Laaksonen T, Mu
¨
ller C,
Gal A, Korpima
¨
ki E (2009) Population fragmentation leads to
isolation by distance but not genetic impoverishment in the
philopatric Lesser Kestrel: a comparison with the widespread
and sympatric Eurasian Kestrel. Heredity 109:190–198. doi:
10.1038/hdy.2008.107
Ballou JD, Lacy RC (1995) Identifying genetically important
individuals for management of genetic diversity in pedigreed
populations. In: Ballou JD, Gilpin M, Foose TJ (eds) Population
management for survival & recovery analytical methods and
strategies in small population conservation. Columbia University
Press, New York, pp 76–111
Belkhir K, Borsa P, Chikhi L, Raufaste N, Bonhomme F (1996–2002)
GENETIX 404 Logiciel sous Windows TM pour la Ge
´
ne
´
tique des
Populations. Laboratoire Ge
´
nome Populations Interactions CNRS
UMR 5000, Universite
´
de Montpellier II, Montpellier France
Biber JP (1990) Action plan for the conservation of western lesser
kestrel (Falco naumanni) populations. International Council for
Bird Preservation (Study Report 41): Cambridge UK
Bijleveld M (1974) Birds of prey in Europe. McMillan Press, London
BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates,
trends and conservation status. BirdLife conservation series no.
12, BirdLife International, Cambridge
Calabuig G, Ortego J, Aparicio JM, Cordero PJ (2008) Public
information in selection of nesting colony by lesser kestrels:
which cues are used and when are they obtained? Anim Behav
75:1611–1617. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.10.022
Cola
´
s J, Corroto M, Garcı
´
a Brea A, Gough R, Jime
´
nez Go
´
mez P
(2002) Dramatic infertility and embryo mortality in a lesser
kestrel (Falco naumanni) captive breeding program in Spain. J
Wildl Dis 38:1
Cramp S, Simmons KEL (1980) The birds of the Western Palearctic,
vol 2. Oxford University Press, Oxford
DeYoung RW, Demarais S, Honeycutt RL, Rooney AP, Gonzales
RA, Gee KL (2003) Genetic consequences of white-tailed deer
(Odocoileus virginianus) restoration in Mississippi. Mol Ecol
12:3237–3252. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294X.2003.01996.x
Frankham R, Briscoe DA, Ballou JD (2002) Introduction to conser-
vation genetics. Cambridge University Press, New York
Gautschi B, Mu
¨
ller JP, Schmid B, Skykoff JA (2003) Effective
number of breeders and maintenance of genetic diversity in the
captive bearded vulture population. Heredity 91:9–16. doi:
10.1038/sj.hdy.6800278
Gemmell NJ, Akiyama S (1996) An efficient method for the
extraction of DNA from vertebrate tissues. Trends Genet
12:338–339. doi:10.1016/S0168-9525(96)80005-9
Gilligan DM, Frankham R (2003) Dynamics of genetic adaptation to
captivity. Conserv Genet 4:189–197. doi:10.1023/A:102339190
5158
Goudet J (2001) FSTAT: a program to estimate and test gene
diversities and fixation indices (version 2.9.3). Available at
http://www2.unil.ch/popgen/softwares/fstat.htm
Hedrick PW (2005) Large variance in reproductive success and the
Ne/N ratio. Evol Int J Org Evol 59:1596–1599
Hedrick PW, Fredrickson RJ (2008) Captive breeding and the
reintroduction of Mexican and red wolves. Mol Ecol 17:344–
350. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03400.x
Hirzel AH, Posse B, Oggier AP, Crettenands Y, Glenz C, Arlettaz R
(2004) Ecological requirements of reintroduced populations and
the requirements for the release policy: the case of the bearded
vulture. J Appl Ecol 41:1103–1116. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8901.
2004.00980.x
Keller LF (1998) Inbreeding and its fitness effects in an insular
population of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Evol Int J Org
Evol 52:240–250. doi:10.2307/2410939
Leberg PL, Ellsworth DL (1999) Further evaluation of the genetic
consequences of translocations on southeastern white-tailed deer
populations. J Wildl Manage 63:327–334. doi:10.2307/3802516
Lenz TL, Jacob A, Wedekind C (2007) Manipulating sex ratio to increase
population growth: the example of the Lesser Kestrel. Anim
Conserv 10:236–244. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2007.00099.x
Lopo L, Ga
´
mez I, Gutie
´
rrez C, Aguilar CM (2004) Programa de
reintroduccio
´
n del cernı
´
calo primilla en La Rioja. Actas del VI
Congreso Nacional del Cernı
´
calo Primilla, Zaragoza, Spain
Marshall TC, Slate J, Kruuk L, Pemberton JM (1998) Statistical confidence
for likelihood-based paternity inference in natural populations. Mol
Ecol 7:639–655. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294x.1998.00374.x
Martı
´
nez-Meyer E, Peterson AT, Servı
´
n JI, Kiff LF (2006) Ecological
niche modelling and prioritizing areas for species reintroduc-
tions. Oryx 40:411–418. doi:10.1017/S0030605306001360
McLean JE, Seamons TR, Dauer MB, Bentzen P, Quinn TP (2008)
Variation in reproductive success and effective number of breeders
in a hatchery population of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss):
examination by microsatellite-based parentage analysis. Conserv
Genet 9:295–304. doi:10.1007/s10592-007-9340-0
Morrow EH, Arnqvist G, Pitcher TE (2002) The evolution of infertility:
does hatching rate in birds coevolve with female polyandry. J
Evol Biol 15:702–709. doi:10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00445.x
Nesje M, Roed KH, Lifjeld JT, Lindberg P, Steens OF (2000) Genetic
relationship in the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) analysed
by microsatellite DNA markers. Mol Ecol 9:53–60. doi:
10.1046/j.1365-294x.2000.00834.x
Nunney L, Elam DR (1994) Estimating the effective population size
of conserved populations. Conserv Biol 8:175–184. doi:
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1994.08010175.x
Ortego J, Aparicio JM, Calabuig G, Cordero PJ (2007) Increase of
heterozygosity in a growing population of lesser kestrels. Biol
Lett 3:585–588. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0268
Pomarol M (1993) Lesser Kestrel recovery project in Catalonia. In:
Nicholls MK, Clarke R (eds) Biology and conservation of small
falcons: Proceedings of the 1991 Hawk and Owl Trust Confer-
ence. The Hawk and Owl Trust, London
Pomarol M, Carbonell F, Heredia G, Valbuena E, Alonso M, Serrano
D (2004a) Cria en cautividad y reintroduccio
´
n. In: Serrano D,
Delgado JM (eds) El cernı
´
calo primilla en Andalucı
´
a Bases
ecolo
´
gicas para su conservacio
´
n. Consejerı
´
a de Medio Ambiente
Junta de Andalucı
´
a, Sevilla
Pomarol M, Carbonell F, Bonfil J (2004b) Actuaciones realizadas
para la recuperacio
´
n de cernı
´
calo primilla en Catalunya. Actas
del VI Congreson Nacional del Cernı
´
calo Primilla, Zaragoza
Ralls K, Ballou JD (2004) Genetic status and management of
california condors. The Condor 106:215–228. doi:10.1650/7348
Rice WR (1989) Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evol Int J Org
Evol 43:223–225. doi:10.2307/2409177
Schwartz MK, Luikart G, Waples RS (2006) Genetic monitoring as a
promising tool for conservation and management. Trends Ecol
Evol 22:25–33. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2006.08.009
Serrano D, Tella JL (2003) Dispersal within a spatially structured
population of lesser kestrels: the role of spatial isolation and
conspecific attraction. J Anim Ecol 72:400–410. doi:
10.1046/j.1365-2656.2003.00707.x
Serrano D, Forero MG, Dona
´
zar JA, Tella JL (2004) Dispersal and
social attraction affect colony selection and dynamics of lesser
kestrels. Ecology 85:3438–3447. doi:10.1890/04-0463
Serrano D, Tella JL, Ursu
´
a E (2005) Proximate causes and fitness
consequences of hatching failure in lesser kestrels Falco
naumanni. J Avian Biol 36:242–250. doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.
2005.03395.x
Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338 337
123
Sherrod SK, Heinrich WR, Burnham WA, Barclay JH, Cade TJ
(1981) Hacking: a method for releasing Peregrine Falcons and
other birds of prey. Peregrine Found, Ithaca
Tella JL, Negro JJ, Villarroel M, Kuhnlein U, Hiraldo F, Dona
´
zar JA,
Bird DM (1996) DNA fingerprinting reveals polygyny in the
lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni). Auk 113:262–265
Waas JR, Colgan PW, Boag PT (2005) Playback of colony sound
alters the breeding schedule and clutch size in zebra finch
(Taeniopygia guttata) colonies. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
2:383–388. doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2949
Wagner HW, Sefc KM (1999) Identity: 10. Centre for Applied
Genetics University of Agricultural Sciences Vienna, Vienna
Woodworth LM, Montgomery ME, Briscoe DA, Frankham R (2002)
Rapid genetic deterioration in captivity: causes and conservation
implications. Conserv Genet 3:277–288. doi:10.1023/A:101995
4801089
338 Conserv Genet (2010) 11:331–338
123
    • The lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small (120–145 g), long-lived (maximum live-span 10 years) colonial falcon, being females large than males[23]and references therein. The species feeds mainly on invertebrates, and has experienced a marked decline in some areas of its breeding range during the last 30 years, being the target species for several reintroduction programs[24]. The lesser kestrel data on demographic parameters was taken from literature[23]coming from a color-ringing and monitoring of breeding performances in 12 colonies in the Seville province (Spain) during 6-year period (1988–1993).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reintroductions have been increasingly used for species restoration and it seems that this conservation tool is going to be more used in the future. Nevertheless, there is not a clear consensus about the better procedure for that, consequently a better knowledge of how to optimize this kind of management is needed. Here we examined the dynamics of released long-lived bird populations (lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni, Bonelli's eagle Aquila fasciata, and bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus) in object-oriented simulated reintroduction programs. To do that, number of young per year and number of years of released necessary to achieve a successful reintroduced population were calculated. We define a successful reintroduction as one in which when the probability of extinction during two times the maximum live-span period for the species (20, 50, and 64 years respectively) was less than 0.001 (p<0.001) and they showed a positive trend in population size (r>0.00). Results showed that a similar total number of young (mean 98.33-5.26) must be released in all the species in all the scenarios in order to get a successful reintroduction. Consequently, as more young per year are released the new population is going to be larger at the end of the simulations, the lesser the negative effects in the donor population and the lowest the total budget needed will be. © 2017 Morandini, Ferrer. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2017
    • Unfortunately, post-release genetic monitoring is rarely done (Schwartz et al., 2007). We found few examples of studies examining the genetics of released cohorts (Drauch and Rhodes, 2007; Gonzalez et al., 2008; Karlsson et al., 2008; Alcaide et al., 2010; this study) and these examined only a single year class or provided a single " snapshot " of the genetic composition of multiple year classes rather than examining trends in genetic composition over time. Likely constraints on post-release monitoring include time/labor investment, financial limitations, low recapture probability, and desire to avoid imposing handling stress on valuable captive-released individuals.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The success of captive and supportive breeding programs is often determined by abundance criteria but it is also necessary to consider genetic characteristics of reintroduced or supplemented populations as genetic diversity loss can reduce population viability. Genetic analysis of the parent pools is often used to determine whether captive or supportive breeding programs conserve adequate levels of genetic diversity and maximize the effective population size (Ne). This practice assumes that released cohorts reflect the genetic characteristics of parents. Here we provide a case study of how post-release mortality can alter the genetic composition of released cohorts in a supportive breeding program for an endangered population of white sturgeon. Data from ongoing genetic monitoring of wild broodstock in the Kootenai River white sturgeon conservation aquaculture program are combined with multi-year post-release abundance monitoring of captive bred juveniles to reveal high variability in recapture among families. We found that genetic monitoring of broodstock used in supportive breeding overestimates genetic diversity conservation in most year classes due to differential post-release mortality among families. Ne was reduced in most year classes when post-release mortality was considered due to reduced parental representation in released cohorts. Although rarely performed, our results indicate that post-release genetic monitoring is necessary to accurately characterize the genetic composition of released cohorts altered by post-release mortality and should be considered when designing a captive or supportive breeding program.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
    • Consequently, inbreeding depression may result due to the expression of deleterious homozygous alleles (Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987;Charlesworth & Willis 2009). Evidence of inbreeding depression has been documented across a variety of taxonomic groups in both captive (Ralls et al. 1988Ralls et al. , 2000Swinnerton et al. 2004;Charpentier et al. 2008;Santure et al. 2010) and wild populations (Frankham 1995;Westemeier et al.1998;Keller & Waller 2002;Richardson et al. 2004;Marr et al. 2006;Alho et al. 2009;Alcaide et al. 2010;Grueber et al. 2010), and its likelihood of occurring is typically evaluated by examining an individual's inbreeding coefficient (f). An inbreeding coefficient represents the probability that two homologous alleles will be IBD.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary goal of captive breeding programmes for endangered species is to prevent extinction, a component of which includes the preservation of genetic diversity and avoidance of inbreeding. This is typically accomplished by minimizing mean kinship in the population, thereby maintaining equal representation of the genetic founders used to initiate the captive population. If errors in the pedigree do exist, such an approach becomes less effective for minimizing inbreeding depression. In this study, both pedigree- and DNA-based methods were used to assess whether inbreeding depression existed in the captive population of the critically endangered Attwater's Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), a subspecies of prairie grouse that has experienced a significant decline in abundance and concurrent reduction in neutral genetic diversity. When examining the captive population for signs of inbreeding, variation in pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients (fpedigree ) was less than that obtained from DNA-based methods (fDNA ). Mortality of chicks and adults in captivity were also positively correlated with parental relatedness (rDNA ) and fDNA , respectively, while no correlation was observed with pedigree-based measures when controlling for additional variables such as age, breeding facility, gender and captive/release status. Further, individual homozygosity by loci (HL) and parental rDNA values were positively correlated with adult mortality in captivity and the occurrence of a lethal congenital defect in chicks, respectively, suggesting that inbreeding may be a contributing factor increasing the frequency of this condition among Attwater's Prairie-chickens. This study highlights the importance of using DNA-based methods to better inform management decisions when pedigrees are incomplete or errors may exist due to uncertainty in pairings.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013
    • Here, ex situ conservation breeding can play an important role and has proven to be effective [Seddon, 2010; Conde et al., 2011]. A number of cases exemplify the role conservation breeding can have in securing the survival of species [Pereladova et al., 1999; Alcaide et al., 2010; Biggins et al., 2011; Lindsey et al., 2011; Zafar‐Ul et al., 2011]. Managed captive populations act also as survival insurance for endangered species.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High among-individual variation in mating success often causes problems in conservation breeding programs. This is also the case for critically endangered European mink and may jeopardize the long-term maintenance of the species' genetic diversity under the European mink EEP Program. In this study, breeding success of wild and captive born European minks at Tallinn Zoological Garden are compared, and the mating behavior of the males is analyzed. Results show that wild born males successfully mate significantly more often than captive born males (89% and 35%, respectively). On the basis of an extensive record of mating attempts, both male aggressiveness and passivity are identified as primary causes of the observed mating failures. All other potential determinants have only a minor role. Mating success as well as a male's aggressiveness and passivity are shown to depend more strongly on the male than the female partner. We did not find any evidence that the behavior of an individual is dependent on the identity of its partner. We suggest that aggressiveness and passivity are two expressions of abnormal behavior brought about by growing up in captivity: the same individuals are likely to display both aggressive and passive behavior. The results point to the need to study and modify maintenance conditions and management procedures of mink to reduce the negative impact of the captive environment on the long-term goals of the program. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013
    • Here, ex situ conservation breeding can play an important role and has proven to be effective [Seddon, 2010; Conde et al., 2011]. A number of cases exemplify the role conservation breeding can have in securing the survival of species [Pereladova et al., 1999; Alcaide et al., 2010; Biggins et al., 2011; Lindsey et al., 2011; Zafar‐Ul et al., 2011]. Managed captive populations act also as survival insurance for endangered species.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High among-individual variation in mating success often causes problems in conservation breeding programs. This is also the case for critically endangered European mink and may jeopardize the long-term maintenance of the species' genetic diversity under the European mink EEP Program. In this study, breeding success of wild and captive born European minks at Tallinn Zoological Garden are compared, and the mating behavior of the males is analyzed. Results show that wild born males successfully mate significantly more often than captive born males (89% and 35%, respectively). On the basis of an extensive record of mating attempts, both male aggressiveness and passivity are identified as primary causes of the observed mating failures. All other potential determinants have only a minor role. Mating success as well as a male's aggressiveness and passivity are shown to depend more strongly on the male than the female partner. We did not find any evidence that the behavior of an individual is dependent on the identity of its partner. We suggest that aggressiveness and passivity are two expressions of abnormal behavior brought about by growing up in captivity: the same individuals are likely to display both aggressive and passive behavior. The results point to the need to study and modify maintenance conditions and management procedures of mink to reduce the negative impact of the captive environment on the long-term goals of the program. Zoo Biol. XX:XX–XX, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
    Article · Feb 2013
    • Due to the lesser kestrel decline and also for research purposes, several breeding programs have been put in place in Spain in recent years262728. One of these reintroductions was carried out in the roof of our own institute (Doñ ana Biological Station, Seville, Spain), where we conducted this study.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Technological advances for wildlife monitoring have expanded our ability to study behavior and space use of many species. But biotelemetry is limited by size, weight, data memory and battery power of the attached devices, especially in animals with light body masses, such as the majority of bird species. In this study, we describe the combined use of GPS data logger information obtained from free-ranging birds, and environmental information recorded by unmanned aerial systems (UASs). As a case study, we studied habitat selection of a small raptorial bird, the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni, foraging in a highly dynamic landscape. After downloading spatio-temporal information from data loggers attached to the birds, we programmed the UASs to fly and take imagery by means of an onboard digital camera documenting the flight paths of those same birds shortly after their recorded flights. This methodology permitted us to extract environmental information at quasi-real time. We demonstrate that UASs are a useful tool for a wide variety of wildlife studies.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012
Show more
Project
Sustainable governance of our biological resources demands reliable scientific knowledge to be accessible and applicable to the needs of society. The fact that current biodiversity observation syst…" [more]
Project
We aim to understand the mechanisms responsible of fatal attraction to design more eco-friendly artificial lights and more efficient rescue campaigns. Our results will help to reduce light-induced …" [more]
Project
The main aim of EU BON (http://www.eubon.eu/) is to deliver a European contribution (European Biodiversity Portal, see http://biodiversity.eubon.eu/) to the information infrastructure of the Group …" [more]
Project
Gorham’s Cave Complex becomes UK’s 30th World Heritage Site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1500 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gorhams-cave-complex-becomes-uks-30th-world-heritage-site The 6-k…" [more]
Article
May 2001 · Genetics · Impact Factor: 5.96
    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) are easily studied in a biallelic system. Such a system requires the cross of two inbred lines presumably fixed for alternative alleles of the QTL. However, development of inbred lines can be time consuming and cost ineffective for species with long generation intervals and severe inbreeding depression. In addition, restriction of the investigation to a biallelic... [Show full abstract]
    Article
    January 2011 · Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology · Impact Factor: 1.13
      Null alleles are common technical artifacts in genetic-based analysis. Powerful methods enabling their detection in either panmictic or inbred populations have been proposed. However, none of these methods appears unbiased in both types of mating systems, necessitating a priori knowledge of the inbreeding level of the population under study. To counter this problem, I propose to use the... [Show full abstract]
      Article
      November 2011 · Genetics and molecular research: GMR · Impact Factor: 0.78
        Microsatellite markers are a useful tool for ecological monitoring of natural and managed populations. A technical limitation is the necessity for investment in the development of primers. Heterologous primers can provide an alternative to searching for new loci. In bees, these markers have been used in populational and intracolonial genetic analyses. The genus Melipona has the largest number... [Show full abstract]
        Article
        August 2012 · Journal of Animal Science · Impact Factor: 2.11
          Stochastic simulation was used to compare the efficiency of 3 pig breeding schemes based on either traditional genetic evaluation or genomic evaluation. The simulated population contained 1,050 female and 50 male breeding animals. It was selected for 10 years for a synthetic breeding goal that included 2 traits with equal economic weights whose heritabilities were 0.2 or 0.4. The reference... [Show full abstract]
          Discover more