The islands of Sardinia, Crete, and Cyprus are hosting the last native insular griffon populations in the Mediterranean basin. Their states have been evaluated from "vulnerable" to "critically endangered". The sequence analysis of molecular markers, particularly the mtDNA D-loop region, provides useful information in studying the evolution of closely related taxa and the conservation of endangered species. Therefore, a study of D-loop region sequence was carried out to estimate the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship within and among these three populations. Among 84 griffon specimens (44 Sardinian, 33 Cretan, and 7 Cypriot), we detected four haplotypes including a novel haplotype (HPT-D) that was exclusively found in the Cretan population with a frequency of 6.1%. When considered as a unique population, haplotype diversity (Hd) and nucleotide diversity (π) were high at 0.474 and 0.00176, respectively. A similar level of Hd and π was found in Sardinian and Cretan populations, both showing three haplotypes. The different haplotype frequencies and exclusivity detected were in accordance with the limited matrilineal gene flow (FST = 0.07097), probably related to the species reluctance to fly over sea masses. The genetic variability we observe today would therefore be the result of an evolutionary process strongly influenced by isolation leading to the appearance of island variants which deserve to be protected. Furthermore, since nesting sites and food availability are essential elements for colony settlement, we may infer that the island's colonization began when the first domestic animals were transferred by humans during the Neolithic. In conclusion, our research presents a first contribution to the genetic characterization of the griffon vulture populations in the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Crete and Cyprus and lays the foundation for conservation and restocking programs.
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|Titolo:||Mitochondrial D-loop Sequence Variability in Three Native Insular Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) Populations from the Mediterranean Basin|
NAITANA, Salvatore (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|