Hybridization between wild boar (Sus scrofa) and domestic pig occurred in the past and still occurs today, having great evolutionary and management implications. In fact, genetic introgression from the domestic form may alter traits like behavior, reproduction rate, and immunology in wild populations, with likely demographic impacts. Thus, it is crucial to understand under what conditions hybridization occurs in S. scrofa. Captive crosses with domestic pigs (released or escaped) have been suggested to constitute the major source of the spread of domestic genes into wild boar populations. However, to date, few studies have assessed the degree of admixture in farmed animals in comparison to the surrounding wild populations. With this purpose, we analyzed microsatellite loci in wild boar sampled in breeding stations and in the local wild population in two Italian regions (Sardinia and Piedmont). Both captive populations had lower allelic richness than the corresponding wild population, but a similar expected heterozygosity. In Piedmont, introgression from the domestic form into the wild population seems to be extremely low, while there are significant signs of admixture in the sampled breeding stations. In Sardinia, instead, the captive sample did not differ significantly from the wild population, which showed moderate signs of introgression. We conclude that hybridization in nature seems to play the key role in Sardinia, while intentional hybridization in captivity is the major source of introgression in Piedmont. Our findings emphasize the need for a routine genetic monitoring of wild boar captive populations, coupled with reference data on the neighboring wild populations.
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|Titolo:||Are captive wild boar more introgressed than free-ranging wild boar? Two case studies in Italy|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|