Genome-wide SNP analysis unveils genetic structure and phylogeographic history of snow sheep ( Ovis nivicola ) populations inhabiting the Verkhoyansk Mountains and Momsky Ridge (northeastern Siberia).
Insights into the genetic characteristics of a species provide important information for wildlife conservation programs. Here, we used the OvineSNP50 BeadChip developed for domestic sheep to examine population structure and evaluate genetic diversity of snow sheep ( Ovis nivicola ) inhabiting Verkhoyansk Range and Momsky Ridge. A total of 1,121 polymorphic SNPs were used to test 80 specimens representing five populations, including four populations of the Verkhoyansk Mountain chain: Kharaulakh Ridge-Tiksi Bay (TIK, n = 22), Orulgan Ridge (ORU, n = 22), the central part of Verkhoyansk Range (VER, n = 15), Suntar-Khayata Ridge (SKH, n = 13), and Momsky Ridge (MOM, n = 8). We showed that the studied populations were genetically structured according to a geographic pattern. Pairwise F