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Open AccessArticle

Mixing Genetically and Morphologically Distinct Populations in Translocations: Asymmetrical Introgression in A Newly Established Population of the Boodie (Bettongia lesueur)

1
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
2
Centre for Ecosystem Management, School of Science, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia 6027, Australia
3
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6152, Australia
4
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia
5
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, PO Box 51, Wanneroo, Western Australia 6946, Australia
6
360 Environmental, 10 Bermondsey Street, West Leederville, Western Australia 6007, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(9), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10090729
Received: 22 August 2019 / Revised: 10 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 September 2019 / Published: 19 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marsupial Genetics and Genomics)
The use of multiple source populations provides a way to maximise genetic variation and reduce the impacts of inbreeding depression in newly established translocated populations. However, there is a risk that individuals from different source populations will not interbreed, leading to population structure and smaller effective population sizes than expected. Here, we investigate the genetic consequences of mixing two isolated, morphologically distinct island populations of boodies (Bettongia lesueur) in a translocation to mainland Australia over three generations. Using 18 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial D-loop region, we monitored the released animals and their offspring between 2010 and 2013. Despite high levels of divergence between the two source populations (FST = 0.42 and ϕST = 0.72), there was clear evidence of interbreeding between animals from different populations. However, interbreeding was non-random, with a significant bias towards crosses between the genetically smaller-sized Barrow Island males and the larger-sized Dorre Island females. This pattern of introgression was opposite to the expectation that male–male competition or female mate choice would favour larger males. This study shows how mixing diverged populations can bolster genetic variation in newly established mammal populations, but the ultimate outcome can be difficult to predict, highlighting the need for continued genetic monitoring to assess the long-term impacts of admixture. View Full-Text
Keywords: burrowing bettong; genetic mixing; intraspecific hybridization; translocation burrowing bettong; genetic mixing; intraspecific hybridization; translocation
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Thavornkanlapachai, R.; Mills, H.R.; Ottewell, K.; Dunlop, J.; Sims, C.; Morris, K.; Donaldson, F.; Kennington, W.J. Mixing Genetically and Morphologically Distinct Populations in Translocations: Asymmetrical Introgression in A Newly Established Population of the Boodie (Bettongia lesueur). Genes 2019, 10, 729.

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