Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Sarah Hendricks, Brendan Epstein, Barbara Schönfeld, Cody Wiench, Rodrigo Hamede, Menna Jones, Andrew Storfer, Paul Hohenlohe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tasmanian devils face a combination of threats to persistence, including devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), an epidemic transmissible cancer. We used RAD sequencing to investigate genome-wide patterns of genetic diversity and geographic population structure. Consistent with previous results, we found very low genetic diversity in the species as a whole, and we detected two broad genetic clusters occupying the northwestern portion of the range, and the central and eastern portions. However, these two groups overlap across a broad geographic area, and differentiation between them is modest (FST = 0.1081). Our results refine the geographic extent of the zone of mixed ancestry and substructure within it, potentially informing management of genetic variation that existed in pre-diseased populations of the species. DFTD has spread across both genetic clusters, but recent evidence points to a genomic response to selection imposed by DFTD. Any allelic variation for resistance to DFTD may be able to spread across the devil population under selection by DFTD, and/or be present as standing variation in both genetic regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-982
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Genetics
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

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tumor
population structure
genetic variation
neoplasms
Population
Neoplasms
disease spread
Preexisting Condition Coverage
ancestry
cancer
genomics
persistence
genome
genetic diversity
Genome

Keywords

  • Conservation genomics
  • Devil facial tumor disease
  • Gene flow
  • Population bottlenecks
  • RAD sequencing
  • Transmissible cancer

Cite this

Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii). / Hendricks, Sarah; Epstein, Brendan; Schönfeld, Barbara; Wiench, Cody; Hamede, Rodrigo; Jones, Menna; Storfer, Andrew; Hohenlohe, Paul.

In: Conservation Genetics, Vol. 18, No. 4, 01.08.2017, p. 977-982.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hendricks, Sarah ; Epstein, Brendan ; Schönfeld, Barbara ; Wiench, Cody ; Hamede, Rodrigo ; Jones, Menna ; Storfer, Andrew ; Hohenlohe, Paul. / Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii). In: Conservation Genetics. 2017 ; Vol. 18, No. 4. pp. 977-982.
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