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Resolutions of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and the 5th International Symposium on Mouflon and their effect on Mouflon taxonomy

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Abstract

Based on recent complete sequence of Cyprian mouflon mtDNA and phylogenetic analyses using a large dataset of whole Ovis mitogenomes, as well as D-loop analysis comprising samples from the main Mediterranean islands [8,9], as well as other phenotypic and forensic studies, the participants agreed that the Cyprus mouflon must be considered as a subspecies of Ovis gmelini, i.e. O. g. ophion [11]
Eleftherios HADJISTERKOTIS, Paolo MEREU and Bruno MASALA (2017). Resolutions
of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and the 5th International
Symposium on Mouflon and their effect on Mouflon taxonomy. Pp. 173-174 in E.
Bro & M. Guillemain (eds.) 33rd IUGB Congress & 14th Perdix Symposium abstract
book. ONCFS, Paris.
Resolutions of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and the
5th International Symposium on Mouflon and their effect on Mouflon
taxonomy
Eleftherios HADJISTERKOTIS 1*, Paolo MEREU 2 and Bruno MASALA 2 1.
Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia, 1453, Cyprus 2. Department of Biomedical Sciences,
University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy *
Corresponding author: ehadjisterkotis@moi.gov.cy presenting author:
ehadjisterkotis@moi.gov.cy
The Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, with the cooperation of Frederick
University (Nature Conservation Unit) and the Caprinae Specialist Group of the Species
Survival Commission of IUCN, from the 29th of August 2016 to the 1st of September 2016,
organized the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and the 5th International
Symposium on Mouflon (WCMU), in Nicosia, Cyprus. Sixty-seven scientific papers were
presented, from about 228 participants from 27 countries [1,2]. Before the WCMU, the
classification of mouflons, urials and their hybrids were under taxonomic confusion and
spelling inconsistencies [3-5]. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
(ICZN) in 2003 accepted the Asian mouflon (Ovis gmelini) as Ovis orientalis and relegated the
European/Mediterranean mouflon with domestic sheep Ovis aries [6,7]. Recent genetic and
biochemical studies revealed that the Cypriot mouflon mitochondrial lineage had an early
split from other domestic sheep about 170 thousand years ago (KYA), and fall within a
cluster closely related to Ovis gmelini [8,9]. The rise of the current domestic sheep
haplogroups, have occurred around 5-35 KYA, suggesting that domestication of wild sheep
initiated about 25 KY before than previously assumed, perhaps originated partly from the
Cyprian mouflon, but the Cyprian mouflon did not originate from domestic sheep [8, 9]. The
gathering at the WCMU of experts on wild sheep and ungulates from all over the world,
provided the opportunity, in the light of the new scientific studies and new molecular
evidence, to discuss and to come into unanimous conclusions on the taxonomy of the above
taxa. The participants concluded that Ovis orientalis seems to refer to the hybrid Alborz red
sheep, a reason for which the name is unusable and may enter into homonymy [10,11].
Based on recent complete sequence of Cyprian mouflon mtDNA and phylogenetic analyses
using a large dataset of whole Ovis mitogenomes, as well as D-loop analysis comprising
samples from the main Mediterranean islands [8,9], as well as other phenotypic and forensic
studies, the participants agreed that the Cyprus mouflon must be considered as a subspecies
of Ovis gmelini, i.e. O. g. ophion [11]. The participants of the 6th WCMU, in their resolutions
which were accepted unanimously at the end of the congress, among other decisions,
recommended that: To uniformly update the taxonomy of the Cyprus mouflon to Ovis
gmelini ophion within all the relevant legal and scientific frameworks such as the Cypriot
law, EU Habitats Directive, CITES, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and the Genetic
Database repositories [11]. This is the first time in the taxonomic history of wild sheep, that
such unanimous decision took place on the taxonomy of mouflon by so many experts from
all over the world, something which clarifies a taxonomic matter which bewildered scientists
for decades.
References
[1] Hadjisterkotis, E. ed. (2016). Abstracts of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates
and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus.
[2] Hadjisterkotis, E. ed. (2016). Abstracts of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates
and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon, 3rd Edition. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia,
Cyprus.
[3] Damm Gerhard, R. & F. Nicolás (2014) The CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World – CIC
International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, Budakeszi, Hungary in
cooperation with Rowland Ward Publications RSA (Pty) Ltd. Johannesburg, South Africa.
[4] Hadjisterkotis, E., P. Mereu & B. Masala (2016) A review of the nomenclatural spelling
variation of the scientific name of the Armenian mouflon (Ovis gmelini gmelinii). Pp38-39, In:
E. Hadjisterkotis (ed.) Abstracts of the of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates
and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus.
[5] Hadjisterkotis, E., P. Mereu & B. Masala (2016). A review of the nomenclatural spelling
variation of the scientific name of the Armenian mouflon (Ovis gmelini gmelinii) and the
Cyprian mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion). Pp 48-50, In: E. Hadjisterkotis (ed.) Book of Abstracts
of the of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and 5th International Symposium
on Mouflon, 3rd Edition. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus. 174
[6] ICZN, Opinion 2027 (2003). Case 3010: usage of 17 specific name was based o wild
species which are pre-dated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals
(Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalia); conserved. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 60:
81-84.
[7] Gentry, A., J. Clutton-Brock & C.P. Groves (1996). Case 3010: Proposed conservation of
usage of 15 mammal specific names based on wild species which are antedated by or
contemporary with those based on domestic animals. Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 53: 28-37.
[8] Sanna, D., M. Barbato, E. Hadjisterkotis, P. Cossu, L. Decandia, S. Trova, M. Pirastru, G.G.
Leoni, S. Naitana, P. Francalacci, B. Masala, L. Manca & P. Mereu (2015). The First
Mitogenome of the Cyprus Mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion): New Insights into the Phylogeny
of the Genus Ovis. PLoS One 10(12): e0144257.
[9] Mereu, P., M. Pirastru, M. Barbato, E. Hadjisterkotis, G.G.Leoni, S. Naitana, B. Masala & L.
Manca (2016). The entire mtDNA sequence of the Cyprian mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion): a
new method for the study of mouflon and domestic sheep evolution. Pp 59-60, In: E.
Hadjisterkotis (ed.) Book of Abstracts of the of the 6th World Congress on Mountain
Ungulates and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon, 3rd Edition. Ministry of the
Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus.
[10] Groves, C. & P. Grubb (2011). Ungulate taxonomy. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
[11] Hadjisterkotis, E. & S. Lovari (2016). Results and Resolutions of the 6th World Congress
on Mountain Ungulates and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon. Pp 20-23 In: E.
Hadjisterkotis (ed) Book of Abstracts of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and
5th International Symposium on Mouflon, 3rd Edition. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia,
Cyprus. Keywords: mouflon, Ovis gmelini ophion, sheep haplogroups
Article
The mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion) is the largest wild terrestrial mammal of Cyprus. Regarded as the local flagship species, its population range is limited to the mountainous Paphos Forest and adjacent areas including parts of the Troodos National Forest Park (> 700 Km²). This species, protected by both national and international legislation, is classified as Endangered by the IUCN, with livestock intrusion, poaching, and habitat loss as the main threatening factors. We determined the spatial genetic structure by investigating sexes separately and shed further light on the Cyprus mouflon placement among Ovis haplogroups (HGs) to enforce its protection within an adaptive conservation framework. We genotyped 108 samples collected across the entire species’ range at 14 loci of the microsatellite DNA and the mitochondrial DNA Control Region (CR). Microsatellite genotyping indicated that the wild population held a low genetic variability, which, however, was not associated with a level of inbreeding raising particular concern (FIS = 0.12). An overall weak spatial genetic structure was disclosed, consistently with the limited extension of the mouflon range, the lack of significant physical barriers to dispersal, and the intense gene flow mostly occurring along a northeast-southwest axis across the forest. Nevertheless, evidences of structure were found for females in compliance with their philopatric behaviour. The disclosure of unique features, compared to Mediterranean and Near East conspecifics, such as the occurrence of a six-fold 76 bp-long repeated motif in the Cyprus mouflon CR, along with the outcome of a phylogenetic reconstruction including a far higher number of Ovis GenBank records and Cyprus haplotypes than in previous studies, inspired the proposal of a new haplogroup (HGC2), which included the Anatolian mouflon (O. g. anatolica, former HGX) as sister taxon. While both high habitat heterogeneity and low human disturbance were the main drivers in determining the overall spatial structure, future conservation efforts to preserve this valuable genetic resource should focus on avoiding possible introgressive hybridisation with co-grazing livestock to the edge of its range.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Sheep are among the first livestock to be domesticated within South-West Asia approximately 12 thousand years ago (KYA), and since then played an important role in human history [1]. Genetic studies on the karyotype [2,3] and genotype [4,5] of the extant wild sheep suggested that the current domestic sheep (Ovis aries) derive from the Asiatic mouflon (O. gmelini). The revised taxonomy of O. gmelini differentiates five subspecies. Among them is the Cyprian mouflon (O. g. ophion) (Fig. 1), a wild mountain ungulate found exclusively in the island of Cyprus. Since these subspecies were not subjected to modern selection strategies, they likely preserved a genetic background which may provide invaluable information about the origin of domestic sheep [6]. To better elucidate the evolutionary history of the Cyprian mouflon, as well as that of domestic sheep, the first complete mitogenome of a Cyprian mouflon was sequenced and compared to the homologue sequences obtained from samples representatives of the five domestic sheep haplogroups so far identified [7], along with samples of the extant wild and feral sheep. Analyses of the D-loop region were also performed. For the latter analyses mouflon samples from the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica – described as remnants of the first wave of domestication that reverted to a feral state – were also included. Phylogenetic analysis were performed by means of Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood inference. In order to detect possible disconnections between groups of individuals, a statistical parsimony network analysis was performed. Such analyses were combined with molecular dating – performed using multiple calibration points – to infer the evolutionary divergence time among Ovis species and providing an estimate of the coalescence time for the rise of extant sheep haplogroups. Results suggested that urial (O. vignei) and argali (O. ammon) diverged from a wild ancestral group that gave rise to domestic sheep about 0.89 and 1.11 million years ago (MYA), respectively. The common ancestor of domestic sheep lived approximately 0.3 MYA, while the rise of the modern sheep haplogroups happened in the span of time between six and 32 KYA. Results indicate the possibility that the first domestication event might have occurred earlier than 10 KYA, based on fossil and archaeozoological evidence. Also, they suggest that the current sheep haplogroups represent the remnants of an ancient progenitor with high genetic variability which spread to Asia and Europe during the Neolithic human migrations rather than being the result of multiple, independent domestication events. Additionally, a close phylogenetic relationship between the Cyprian and the Anatolian mouflon was detected, based on the presence in both mouflons of a rare haplotype (X). These results along with a genetic distance ranging from 0.005 to 0.011 between these taxa and the other sheep haplogroups supports the hypothesis that they might represent a haplogroup never before described. The updated phylogenetic tree presented in this study depicts a more detailed classification of ovine species and may help to classify more accurately new mitogenomes within the established haplogroups so far identified. Also, the Cyprian mouflon was determined to belong to a distinct haplogroup, thus suggesting it as a distinct conservation unit.
Article
Full-text available
Sheep are thought to have been one of the first livestock to be domesticated in the Near East, thus playing an important role in human history. The current whole mitochondrial genome phylogeny for the genus Ovis is based on: the five main domestic haplogroups occurring among sheep (O. aries), along with molecular data from two wild European mouflons, three urials, and one argali. With the aim to shed some further light on the phylogenetic relationship within this genus, the first complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a Cypriot mouflon (O. gmelini ophion) is here reported. Phylogenetic analyses were performed using a dataset of whole Ovis mitogenomes as well as D-loop sequences. The concatenated sequence of 28 mitochondrial genes of one Cypriot mouflon, and the D-loop sequence of three Cypriot mouflons were compared to sequences obtained from samples representatives of the five domestic sheep haplogroups along with samples of the extant wild and feral sheep. The sample included also individuals from the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica hosting remnants of the first wave of domestication that likely went then back to feral life. The divergence time between branches in the phylogenetic tree has been calculated using seven different calibration points by means of Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood inferences. Results suggest that urial (O. vignei) and argali (O. ammon) diverged from domestic sheep about 0.89 and 1.11 million years ago (MYA), respectively; and dates the earliest radiation of domestic sheep common ancestor at around 0.3 MYA. Additionally, our data suggest that the rise of the modern sheep haplogroups happened in the span of time between six and 32 thousand years ago (KYA). A close phylogenetic relationship between the Cypriot and the Anatolian mouflon carrying the X haplotype was detected. The genetic distance between this group and the other ovine haplogroups supports the hypothesis that it may be a new haplogroup never described before. Furthermore, the updated phylogenetic tree presented in this study determines a finer classification of ovine species and may help to classify more accurately new mitogenomes within the established haplogroups so far identified.
Book
CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World Vol. I & II (Gerhard R Damm & Nicolás Franco) Aтлас Caprinae Мира CIC Том I & II (Герхард Р. Дамм и Николас Франко) The two-volume Caprinae Atlas presents a comprehensive overview of the distribution ranges of the wild Caprinae, their physical appearance, life history, conservation status and sustainable use. It aims to stimulate involvement of policy makers who create the administrative and legislative frameworks for Caprinae conservation; researchers and taxonomists who are at work to fill knowledge gaps; public, communal and private landowners on whose lands wild Caprinae dwell; management authorities who need to find workable conservation solutions; hunters who are getting intense awards from pursuing wild Caprinae; and last not least the women and men who follow the tracks of wild sheep and goats to admire and photograph them. Caprinae conservation must connect traditional field work and innovative laboratory biology with the complexity of ecologic systems, and the associated human dimensions, in a multifaceted system of economics, traditional values and socio-cultural aspects. The CIC Phenotype System introduced in this atlas is intended as an element to assist field workers, researchers and management authorities in focusing research efforts, developing sound management plans and regulating sustainable use for discrete Caprinae populations. The CIC phenotypes will help identifying the conservation needs of local, regionally restricted populations and provide solutions to reconcile Caprinae conservation with the development aspirations of rural communities. Painstaking research went into the creation of 130 color distribution maps for the 96 described Caprinae phenotypes. The chapters also present more than one thousand field photos as well as skull and horn photos from specimens in museum collections. Marco Festa-Bianchet said of the CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World "[It] marks a milestone in the scientific and conservation activities of the CIC. While sport hunters are the primary intended readership, this very ambitious book will also interest researchers and wildlife managers. It presents a massive amount of information on mountain ungulates, including a detailed description of known and perceived taxonomic varieties … This monumental work took an enormous effort on the part of some very able and determined people ..." The Russian Edition of the Atlas has been expertly translated by Dr. Andrey Lissovsky of the Zoological Museum (Moscow State University), funded by the Mountain Hunters' Club and Eduard Benderskiy. If you want to purchase two volumes of the English or Russian editions (hardcover, linen with gold foiling and dust jackets, 520 and 584 pages, 210 X 275mm) please contact Gerhard Damm gerhard@muskwa.co.za
The CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World-CIC International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, Budakeszi, Hungary in cooperation with Rowland Ward Publications RSA (Pty) Ltd
  • Damm Gerhard
  • R F Nicolás
Damm Gerhard, R. & F. Nicolás (2014) The CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World-CIC International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, Budakeszi, Hungary in cooperation with Rowland Ward Publications RSA (Pty) Ltd. Johannesburg, South Africa.
Case 3010: usage of 17 specific name was based o wild species which are pre-dated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalia); conserved
ICZN, Opinion 2027 (2003). Case 3010: usage of 17 specific name was based o wild species which are pre-dated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalia); conserved. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 60: 81-84.
Keywords: mouflon, Ovis gmelini ophion
  • Hadjisterkotis
Hadjisterkotis (ed) Book of Abstracts of the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon, 3rd Edition. Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus. Keywords: mouflon, Ovis gmelini ophion, sheep haplogroups