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Founding Lineages and Genic Variability in Plains Bison (Bison Bison) from Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Leroy R. McClenaghan, Jr., Joel Berger and Harold D. Truesdale
Conservation Biology
Vol. 4, No. 3 (Sep., 1990), pp. 285-289
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2385786
Page Count: 5
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Founding Lineages and Genic Variability in Plains Bison (Bison Bison) from Badlands National Park, South Dakota
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Abstract

Starch-gel electrophoresis was used to screen 101 bison from Badlands National Park, South Dakota, for variation at 24 genetic loci. The population was descended from founder groups of about 6 and 3 individuals, separated geographically for a minimum of 64 years. The purpose of this study was (1) to estimate levels of genic variability in this bison population, (2) to assess the extent to which descendents of the two founder groups differ genetically, and (3) to compare the genetic characteristics of the Badlands population with other bison populations. The Badlands herd was found to be polymorphic for only a single locus (MDH-1). Descendents of the founder groups were homogeneous with respect to allelic and genotypic frequencies at this locus. The MDH-1 polymorphism has not been observed in other bison populations, while several polymorphisms reported in other bison populations were not detected in the Badlands herd. A mean heterozygosity of 0.012 was observed in the Badlands herd; this value is lower than that typically reported for mammals, though not as low as heterozygosities seen in other populations that have passed through severe bottlenecks in size. These results underscore the need for genetic data in planning breeding programs for species in captivity or managed in isolated reserves.

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