Biodiversity Science ›› 2003, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (6): 454-460.doi: 10.17520/biods.2003053

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Genetic diversity and protection of chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar)on the Loess Plateau of eastern Gansu

HUANG Zu-Hao, LIU Nai-Fa, ZHOU Tian-Lin   

  1. 1 College of L if e Sciences , L anz hou University , L anz hou 730000
    2 Department of Biology , L ongdong College , Qingyang , Gansu 744000
  • Received:2002-11-26 Revised:2003-06-17 Online:2003-11-20
  • LIU Nai-Fa

Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) is a very important bird for hunting in northern China. Currently chukar partridges are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting, and human persecution on the  Loess Plateau of eastern Gansu. We used polymerase chain reaction and dideoxy direct sequencing methods to analyze the genetic diversity of chukar partridge. A total of 491 nucleotides of the mitochondrial DNA control region gene were sequenced in 78 chukar partridges of eight populations collected from the Loess Plateau. The 24 variable sites (4.89% of the entire sequences) defined 25 haplotypes (32.05% of all the samples). The sequence variation, haplotype diversity and nucleotide diversity of the Tongchuan population were the largest among the eight populations, up to 0.47, 0.82 and 0.0029, respectively, while those of Honghui population were the lowest, 0.10, 0.28 and 0.0008, respectively. This might  result from founder effect, genetic isolation or natural selection. The eight populations shared one haplotype C1, which indicated that they came from a common ancestor and belonged to one monophyletic group and one evolutionarily significant unit. However, they clustered into two groups. The haplotype similarity index between the two groups was only 0.15, and genetic distance was 0.43%. The genetic variability was significantly different between the two groups according to one-way analysis of variance (F=5.02>F0.05 (14,1)=4.06). It is suggested that the chukar partridge throughout the  Loess Plateau of eastern Gansu should be protected as two management units since the demographic connection between them is low. The Tongchuan population, with the highest genetic variation and genetic diversity, should be well-protected.

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