Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations

Linh Chau, Amy M. Groh, Emily C. Anderson, Micaela O. Alcala, Joseph R. Mendelson, Stephanie B. Slade, Kenton Kerns, Steve Sarro, Clinton Lusardi, Michael A.D. Goodisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, is a highly unusual mammal that displays a complex social system similar to that found in eusocial insects. Colonies of H. glaber are commonly maintained in zoo collections because they represent fascinating educational exhibits for the public. However, little is known about the genetic structure or sex ratio of captive populations of H. glaber. In this study, we developed a set of microsatellite markers to examine genetic variation in three captive zoo populations of H. glaber. We also studied sex ratio of these captive populations. Our goal was to determine levels of genetic variation within, and genetic differences between, captive populations of H. glaber. Overall, we found modest levels of genetic variation in zoo populations. We also uncovered little evidence for inbreeding within the captive populations. However, zoo populations did differ genetically, which may reflect the isolation of captive naked mole rat colonies. Finally, we found no evidence of biased sex ratios within colonies. Overall, our study documents levels of genetic variation and sex ratios in a captive eusocial mammalian population. Our results may provide insight into how to manage captive populations of H. glaber.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalZoo Biology
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

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Heterocephalus glaber
zoos
sex ratio
genetic variation
inbreeding
microsatellite repeats
mammals

Keywords

  • eusocial
  • genetic structure
  • genetic variation
  • molecular genetic analysis
  • sex ratio

Cite this

Chau, L., Groh, A. M., Anderson, E. C., Alcala, M. O., Mendelson, J. R., Slade, S. B., ... Goodisman, M. A. D. (2018). Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations. Zoo Biology, 37(3), 171-182. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21417

Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations. / Chau, Linh; Groh, Amy M.; Anderson, Emily C.; Alcala, Micaela O.; Mendelson, Joseph R.; Slade, Stephanie B.; Kerns, Kenton; Sarro, Steve; Lusardi, Clinton; Goodisman, Michael A.D.

In: Zoo Biology, Vol. 37, No. 3, 01.05.2018, p. 171-182.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chau, L, Groh, AM, Anderson, EC, Alcala, MO, Mendelson, JR, Slade, SB, Kerns, K, Sarro, S, Lusardi, C & Goodisman, MAD 2018, 'Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations', Zoo Biology, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 171-182. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21417
Chau L, Groh AM, Anderson EC, Alcala MO, Mendelson JR, Slade SB et al. Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations. Zoo Biology. 2018 May 1;37(3):171-182. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21417
Chau, Linh ; Groh, Amy M. ; Anderson, Emily C. ; Alcala, Micaela O. ; Mendelson, Joseph R. ; Slade, Stephanie B. ; Kerns, Kenton ; Sarro, Steve ; Lusardi, Clinton ; Goodisman, Michael A.D. / Genetic diversity and sex ratio of naked mole rat, Heterocephalus glaber, zoo populations. In: Zoo Biology. 2018 ; Vol. 37, No. 3. pp. 171-182.
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