Biodiv Sci ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 451-459.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2012.09221

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Genetic variation in rusty-necklaced partridge (Alectoris magna) detected by mitochondrial DNA

Rong Zhou1, Jiaqi Li2, You Li3, Naifa Liu2,*(), Fengjie Fang2, Limin Shi2, Ying Wang2   

  1. 1 College of Earth and Environmental Science, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2 School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2011-12-20 Accepted:2012-04-11 Online:2012-07-20 Published:2012-09-12
  • Contact: Naifa Liu


The rusty-necklaced partridge (Alectoris magna) is a bird species endemic to China that has been threatened by habitat fragmentation and hunting. To examine the conservation status of this species, we examined the intraspecific variation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region and cytochrome b 234 individuals from 12 representative populations throughout the species’ range. Forty-four haplotypes were defined by 34 variable sites with the mean haplotype diversity of 0.916 ± 0.011 and nucleotide diversity of 0.00449 ± 0.00242 in the 1,127 bp mtDNA control region. Haplotype diversity was maximized in the Jing- yuan and Minhe populations (0.894 ± 0.063) and was minimized in the Haiyuan population (0.476 ± 0.155). Fourteen haplotypes were defined by 14 variable sites with a mean haplotype diversity of 0.738 ± 0.024 and a nucleotide diversity of 0.00216 ± 0.00009 in mtDNA cytochrome b.Haplotype diversity was the highest in the Gonghe population (0.763 ± 0.059) and did not differ in the Delingha population. Correlation between genetic diversity indices and sample size did not result in statistically significant differences. We found that neighbour-joining methods revealed limited phylogenetic distinction between geographically distant populations of the rusty-necklaced partridge, and provided tentative support for a single evolutionarily significant unit. AMOVA revealed that the most genetic variation was distributed within populations; However, the genetic variation among groups and populations was also statistically significant, indicating that the appropriate short-term management unit for the rusty-necklaced partridge is a the level of the local population. Therefore, edge populations with lower genetic diversity, including Delingha, Dulan, Lixian, Zhangjiachuan and Haiyuan, have higher conservation value. We recommend that strengthening protection of populations with lower genetic diversity, including Gonghe, Guide and Jingyuan, is advantageous to retain the general level of genetic diversity in this species.

Key words: genetic diversity, genetic differentiation, phylogeny, evolutionarily significant unit, management unit