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First Insight Into Genetic Diversity of Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) in Slovenia


Bužan, Elena; Duniš, Luka; Bončina, Aja; Horvat, Simon; Pogorevc, Neža; Brambilla, Alice; Sölkner, Johann; Burger, Pamela; Medugorac, Ivica; Boštjan, Pokorny (2023). First Insight Into Genetic Diversity of Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) in Slovenia. Slovenian Veterinary Research, 60(3):1-12.

Abstract

In Europe, the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) was on the brink of extinction in the 19th century. Therefore, different conservation measures were implemented, and several reintroductions were made in the Alpine arc, starting from the only surviving population in Gran Paradiso, Italy. An extreme historical bottleneck and additional reintroductions have strongly shaped the genetic make-up of recent populations, resulting in significant genetic drift and profound inbreeding across the species range. To support science-based conservation actions, molecular methods have been increasingly used. However, such analyses did not include populations in Slovenia.
We analysed neutral loci (partial fragment of mitochondrial cytochrome b, mtDNA) and the adaptive major histocompatibility complex (MHC DRB exon 2) of the Alpine ibex from both Slovenian populations (Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps) to understand how past reintroductions and recent management have affected the genetic diversity of the species. Results showed that both populations are genetically severely depleted, carrying only one mtDNA haplotype and one functional allele for MHC DRB exon 2, Caib-DRB*01. This calls for further conservation actions, including the reintroduction of individuals with different genetic background. However, the Alpine ibex is currently considered a non-native species in Slovenia, which makes conservation actions extremely difficult and threatens the long-term survival of the species. Therefore, scientists and population managers are urging policy/decision makers to change the status of the species to the native one and consequently to allow reintroductions. These appeals are supported by previous archaeological data on the existence of bones assigned to Alpine ibex in the Julian Alps, and evidence of severe genetic depletion in current ibex populations confirmed in this study.
PRVI VPOGLED V GENETSKO RAZNOLIKOST ALPSKEGA KOZOROGA (Capra ibex) V SLOVENIJI
Izvleček: V Evropi je bil alpski kozorog (Capra ibex) v 19. stoletju na robu izumrtja. Izvajali so se različni ukrepi za njegovo ohranjanje. V alpskem loku je bilo izvedenih več ponovnih naselitev, najprej z edino ohranjeno populacijo v kraju Gran Paradiso v Italiji. Izredna okrnjenost vrste v preteklosti in dodatne ponovne naselitve so močno vplivale na genetsko sestavo populacije, kar je povzročilo znaten genetski zdrs in parjenje v sorodstvu na celotnem območju vrste. V podporo znanstveno utemeljenim ukrepom ohranjanja se vse pogosteje uporabljajo molekularne metode, vendar takšne analize niso vključevale populacij v Sloveniji.
Da bi razumeli, kako je ponovno naseljevanje in nedavno upravljanje vplivalo na genetsko raznolikost vrste, smo analizirali nevtralne lokuse (delni fragment mitohondrijskega citokroma b, mtDNA) in adaptivni poglavitni histokompatibilnostni kompleks (MHC DRB ekson 2) alpskega kozoroga iz obeh slovenskih populacij (Julijske in Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe). Rezultati so pokazali, da sta obe populaciji genetsko zelo osiromašeni, saj nosita le en haplotip mtDNA in en funkcionalni alel za MHC DRB ekson 2, Caib-DRB*01. Zato so potrebni nadaljnji ukrepi za ohranjanje, vključno s ponovno naselitvijo živali z drugačnim genetskim ozadjem. Vendar alpski kozorog v Sloveniji trenutno velja za tujerodno vrsto, kar zelo otežuje ukrepe za njegovo ohranitev in ogroža dolgoročno preživetje vrste. Znanstveniki in upravljavci populacij zato pozivajo politike/odločevalce, naj spremenijo status vrste v avtohtono in posledično omogočijo ponovno naselitev. Ti pozivi so podprti s predhodnimi arheološkimi podatki o obstoju kosti alpskega kozoroga v Julijskih Alpah in z dokazi o izraziti genetski osiromašenosti sedanjih populacij kozoroga, potrjenimi v tej študiji.
Ključne besede: Capra ibex; mitohondrijska DNA; MHC DRB exon2; ponovna naselitev; upravljanje

Abstract

In Europe, the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) was on the brink of extinction in the 19th century. Therefore, different conservation measures were implemented, and several reintroductions were made in the Alpine arc, starting from the only surviving population in Gran Paradiso, Italy. An extreme historical bottleneck and additional reintroductions have strongly shaped the genetic make-up of recent populations, resulting in significant genetic drift and profound inbreeding across the species range. To support science-based conservation actions, molecular methods have been increasingly used. However, such analyses did not include populations in Slovenia.
We analysed neutral loci (partial fragment of mitochondrial cytochrome b, mtDNA) and the adaptive major histocompatibility complex (MHC DRB exon 2) of the Alpine ibex from both Slovenian populations (Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps) to understand how past reintroductions and recent management have affected the genetic diversity of the species. Results showed that both populations are genetically severely depleted, carrying only one mtDNA haplotype and one functional allele for MHC DRB exon 2, Caib-DRB*01. This calls for further conservation actions, including the reintroduction of individuals with different genetic background. However, the Alpine ibex is currently considered a non-native species in Slovenia, which makes conservation actions extremely difficult and threatens the long-term survival of the species. Therefore, scientists and population managers are urging policy/decision makers to change the status of the species to the native one and consequently to allow reintroductions. These appeals are supported by previous archaeological data on the existence of bones assigned to Alpine ibex in the Julian Alps, and evidence of severe genetic depletion in current ibex populations confirmed in this study.
PRVI VPOGLED V GENETSKO RAZNOLIKOST ALPSKEGA KOZOROGA (Capra ibex) V SLOVENIJI
Izvleček: V Evropi je bil alpski kozorog (Capra ibex) v 19. stoletju na robu izumrtja. Izvajali so se različni ukrepi za njegovo ohranjanje. V alpskem loku je bilo izvedenih več ponovnih naselitev, najprej z edino ohranjeno populacijo v kraju Gran Paradiso v Italiji. Izredna okrnjenost vrste v preteklosti in dodatne ponovne naselitve so močno vplivale na genetsko sestavo populacije, kar je povzročilo znaten genetski zdrs in parjenje v sorodstvu na celotnem območju vrste. V podporo znanstveno utemeljenim ukrepom ohranjanja se vse pogosteje uporabljajo molekularne metode, vendar takšne analize niso vključevale populacij v Sloveniji.
Da bi razumeli, kako je ponovno naseljevanje in nedavno upravljanje vplivalo na genetsko raznolikost vrste, smo analizirali nevtralne lokuse (delni fragment mitohondrijskega citokroma b, mtDNA) in adaptivni poglavitni histokompatibilnostni kompleks (MHC DRB ekson 2) alpskega kozoroga iz obeh slovenskih populacij (Julijske in Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe). Rezultati so pokazali, da sta obe populaciji genetsko zelo osiromašeni, saj nosita le en haplotip mtDNA in en funkcionalni alel za MHC DRB ekson 2, Caib-DRB*01. Zato so potrebni nadaljnji ukrepi za ohranjanje, vključno s ponovno naselitvijo živali z drugačnim genetskim ozadjem. Vendar alpski kozorog v Sloveniji trenutno velja za tujerodno vrsto, kar zelo otežuje ukrepe za njegovo ohranitev in ogroža dolgoročno preživetje vrste. Znanstveniki in upravljavci populacij zato pozivajo politike/odločevalce, naj spremenijo status vrste v avtohtono in posledično omogočijo ponovno naselitev. Ti pozivi so podprti s predhodnimi arheološkimi podatki o obstoju kosti alpskega kozoroga v Julijskih Alpah in z dokazi o izraziti genetski osiromašenosti sedanjih populacij kozoroga, potrjenimi v tej študiji.
Ključne besede: Capra ibex; mitohondrijska DNA; MHC DRB exon2; ponovna naselitev; upravljanje

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Veterinary
Language:English
Date:15 September 2023
Deposited On:20 Dec 2023 11:57
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:University of Ljubljana
ISSN:1580-4003
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.26873/SVR-1788-2023
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)