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

Year: 2018

Authors: Smith, S; Fusani, L; Boglarka, B; Sanchez-Donoso, I; Marasco, V

Title: Lack of introgression of Japanese quail in a captive population of common quail.

Source: Eur J Wildlife Res. 2018; 64(5): 51

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Fusani Leonida
Marasco Valeria
Smith Steven

Vetmed Research Units
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Unit of Ornithology

Project(s): An avian model for understanding adaptations and modulatory drivers of avian migration

Farm-reared quails are released to the wild in Europe in vast numbers every year to increase hunting bag quotas. Experimental studies indicate that rather than the native common quail (Coturnix coturnix), the restocking is often done with domestic Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) or with hybrids of domestic Japanese quail and common quail. Such practices are thought to be a severe threat for the native species as it could lead to introgression of domestic Japanese quail alleles into the wild common quail genome and potentially alter the migratory and reproductive behaviour in wild populations. In this study, we assessed the genetic purity of a captive population of common quail that was established from wild-caught founders caught on the Southern Italian coast in Sicily (Italy). We evaluated the proportion of ancestry to common and Japanese quail in this captive population via genetic screening using nuclear microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA analyses. We showed that the captive farm quail in our study had no sign of admixture with domestic Japanese quail and had similar genotype frequencies relative to wild common quail, confirming the success of the breeding programme for the native species. We propose that raising common quails in captivity for restocking purposes rather than domestic Japanese quails or hybrids would be a feasible alternative that could minimise the risk of genetic pollution of wild common quail populations.

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