The mtDNA diversity of captive ruffed lemurs (Varecia spp.): Implications for conservation

Journal article


Vega, R., Hopper, Jane, Kitchener, Andrew C., Catinaud, Jerome, Roullet, Delphine, Robsomanitrandrasana, Eric, Hollister, Jack D., Roos, Christian and King, Tony 2022. The mtDNA diversity of captive ruffed lemurs (Varecia spp.): Implications for conservation. Oryx. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605322000643
AuthorsVega, R., Hopper, Jane, Kitchener, Andrew C., Catinaud, Jerome, Roullet, Delphine, Robsomanitrandrasana, Eric, Hollister, Jack D., Roos, Christian and King, Tony
Abstract

Ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata and V. rubra) are considered Critically Endangered, and genetic studies are therefore needed for assessing the conservation value of captive populations. Using 280 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) D-loop sequences, we studied the genetic diversity and structure of captive ruffed lemurs in Madagascar, Europe and North America. We found 10 new haplotypes, one from the European captive V. rubra population, three from captive V. variegata subcincta (one from Europe and two from Madagascar), and six from other captive V. variegata in Madagascar. There was low mtDNA genetic diversity in the European and North American captive populations of V. variegata. Several founder individuals shared the same mtDNA haplotype, and therefore should perhaps not be considered as unrelated founders for making breeding recommendations. The captive population in Madagascar has high genetic diversity, including haplotypes not yet identified in wild populations. The likely geographical provenance of founders of captive populations was determined by comparison with previous studies; all reported haplotypes from captive ruffed lemurs were identical to, or clustered with, haplotypes from wild populations located north of the Mangoro River in Madagascar. Effective conservation strategies for wild populations, with potentially unidentified genetic diversity, should still be considered the priority for conserving ruffed lemurs. However, our results illustrate that the captive population in Madagascar has conservation value as a source of potential release stock for reintroduction or reinforcement projects, and that cross-regional transfers within the global captive population could increase the genetic diversity and therefore the conservation value of each regional population.

KeywordsConservation; Primates; Lemuridae; Madagascar; Biodiversity; Genetic diversity
Year2022
JournalOryx
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN1365-3008
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605322000643
Publication process dates
Accepted18 May 2022
Deposited08 Jun 2022
Accepted author manuscript
License
Supplemental file
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File Access Level
Open
Output statusIn press
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/9135v/the-mtdna-diversity-of-captive-ruffed-lemurs-varecia-spp-implications-for-conservation

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