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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 1994

Authors: Rassmann, K; Arnold, W; Tautz, D

Title: Low genetic variability in a natural alpine marmot population (Marmota marmota, Sciuridae) revealed by DNA fingerprinting.

Source: Mol Ecol 1994; 3(4): 347-353.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Arnold Walter

Genetic heterogeneity is usually considered an important factor for the viability of a population, yet there are cases in which populations sustain themselves despite virtual homozygosity. A prior step to studying the effects of such low levels of genetic variability can be the analysis of its causes. We analysed a population of the highly social alpine marmot (Marmota marmota, Sciuridae) by multilocus DNA fingerprinting. The fingerprint patterns revealed a very low degree of polymorphism in our main study population. We show that this lack of hypervariability is caused by a low effective population size, rather than by an unusual low mutation rate of the fingerprint loci studied. However, the current number of breeding pairs was found to be about an order of magnitude larger than the one that would be expected to lead to such a low degree of heterozygosity. We conclude that there must have been bottlenecks in the history of the Berchtesgaden marmot population that have severely affected its genetic heterozygosity.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
DNA Fingerprinting*
Genetic Variation*
Population Density

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