Genetic Variation and Structure in Contrasting Geographic Distributions: Widespread Versus Restricted Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Subgenus Cynomys)

Gabriela Castellanos-Morales, Jorge Ortega, Reyna A. Castillo-Gámez, Loren C. Sackett, Luis E. Eguiarte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Species of restricted distribution are considered more vulnerable to extinction because of low levels of genetic variation relative to widespread taxa. Species of the subgenus Cynomys are an excellent system to compare genetic variation and degree of genetic structure in contrasting geographic distributions. We assessed levels of genetic variation, genetic structure, and genetic differentiation in widespread Cynomys ludovicianus and restricted C. mexicanus using 1997bp from the cytochrome b and control region (n = 223 C. ludovicianus; 77 C. mexicanus), and 10 nuclear microsatellite loci (n = 207 and 78, respectively). Genetic variation for both species was high, and genetic structure in the widespread species was higher than in the restricted species. C. mexicanus showed values of genetic variation, genetic structure, and genetic differentiation similar to C. ludovicianus at smaller geographic scales. Results suggest the presence of at least 2 historical refuges for C. ludovicianus and that the Sierra Madre Occidental represents a barrier to gene flow. Chihuahua and New Mexico possess high levels of genetic diversity and should be protected, while Sonora should be treated as an independent management unit. For C. mexicanus, connectivity among colonies is very important and habitat fragmentation and habitat loss should be mitigated to maintain gene flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-490
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Heredity
Volume106
Issue numberS1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The American Genetic Association 2015. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Conservation genetics
  • Cynomys ludovicianus
  • Cynomys mexicanus
  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondria
  • Phylogeography

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic Variation and Structure in Contrasting Geographic Distributions: Widespread Versus Restricted Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Subgenus Cynomys)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this