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Morphological and molecular approaches to the management of captive antelopes

Silveira, Cristiane Bastos Mary Oliveira; (2003) Morphological and molecular approaches to the management of captive antelopes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The aims of the present study were to generate morphological and genetic data to support management strategies for captive antelope populations. To achieve this objective I i) tested the validity of previously described subspecies using morphological characters; ii) tested the utility of the external morphological characters to provenance specimens in captive populations; iii) developed genetic markers for characterising subspecies diversity within collections; iv) identified and characterised the genetic diversity in the captive populations compared to wild specimens; and v) tested the power of nuclear genetic markers to uncover relationships within groups. Morphometric data, based on nineteen skull and horn characters, were used for multivariate analyses of Aepyceros melampus (impala) populations. A quantitative method for skin pattern analysis based on standard colour charts was developed. The results supported four out of five described subspecies: A. m. melampus, A. m. petersi, A. m. johnstoni, and A. m. suara. Mitochondrial DNA sequences proved to be a powerful marker to assess the subspecies diversity within collections, and data revealed hybrid stock of A. m. petersi x A. m. melampus in European Zoos. A. m. petersi is listed as vulnerable and its status in captivity gives cause for great concern and the need for urgent measures. Museum specimens proved to be a reliable source of historical genetic information, giving DNA sequences on wild impala populations back to 70 years ago. Ten Bos taurus (cattle) microsatellite loci were successfully amplified in five study species: A. melampus (impala); Hippotragus niger (sable antelope); H. equinus (roan antelope); Kobus ellipsiprymnus (waterbuck) and K. leche (leche). In six loci the allele size range was diagnostic at the species and/or genus level. These findings are especially important for the investigation of hybridisation, studies on mixed groups, and material of unknown provenance. Simulation of parentage inference, based on the 6 polymorphic loci, indicates that this set of markers is able to resolve parentage between two candidate parents, at 95% confidence, whether one parent is known (99% certainty) or not (98%). The present study was able to test the accuracy of these simulations using a captive group of 24 impalas. The results strongly support the use of this analysis to assess the number of markers or average polymorphism required to resolve parentage or relatedness in captive population studies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Morphological and molecular approaches to the management of captive antelopes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Antelope
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106652
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