The Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar (Phasianidae) is a popular game bird whose range extends from the Balkans to eastern Asia. The Chukar is threatened by human-mediated hybridization either with congeneric species (Red-Legged A. rufa and Rock A. graeca Partridges) from Europe or exotic conspecifics (from eastern Asia), mainly through introductions. We investigated Chukar populations of the Middle East (Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Armenia, Georgia, Iran and Turkmenistan: n = 89 specimens) in order to obtain useful genetic information for the management of this species. We sequenced the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Control Region using Mediterranean (Greece: n = 27) and eastern Asian (China: n = 18) populations as intraspecific outgroups. The Cypriot Chukars (wild and farmed birds) showed high diversity and only native genotypes; signatures of both demographic and spatial expansion were found. Our dataset suggests that Cyprus holds the most ancient A. chukar haplotype of the Middle East. We found A. rufa mtDNA lineage in Lebanese Chukars as well as A. chukar haplotypes of Chinese origin in Greek and Turkish Chukars. Given the very real risk of genetic pollution, we conclude that present management of game species such as the Chukar cannot avoid anymore the use of molecular tools. We recommend that Chukars must not be translocated from elsewhere to Cyprus.

Conservation genetics and management of the Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar in Cyprus and the Middle East

GUERRINI, MONICA;BARBANERA, FILIPPO
2011

Abstract

The Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar (Phasianidae) is a popular game bird whose range extends from the Balkans to eastern Asia. The Chukar is threatened by human-mediated hybridization either with congeneric species (Red-Legged A. rufa and Rock A. graeca Partridges) from Europe or exotic conspecifics (from eastern Asia), mainly through introductions. We investigated Chukar populations of the Middle East (Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Armenia, Georgia, Iran and Turkmenistan: n = 89 specimens) in order to obtain useful genetic information for the management of this species. We sequenced the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Control Region using Mediterranean (Greece: n = 27) and eastern Asian (China: n = 18) populations as intraspecific outgroups. The Cypriot Chukars (wild and farmed birds) showed high diversity and only native genotypes; signatures of both demographic and spatial expansion were found. Our dataset suggests that Cyprus holds the most ancient A. chukar haplotype of the Middle East. We found A. rufa mtDNA lineage in Lebanese Chukars as well as A. chukar haplotypes of Chinese origin in Greek and Turkish Chukars. Given the very real risk of genetic pollution, we conclude that present management of game species such as the Chukar cannot avoid anymore the use of molecular tools. We recommend that Chukars must not be translocated from elsewhere to Cyprus.
Panayides, P; Guerrini, Monica; Barbanera, Filippo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/147060
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