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Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)


Hendricks, S and Epstein, B and Schonfeld, B and Wiench, C and Hamede, R and Jones, M and Storfer, A and Hohenlohe, P, Conservation implications of limited genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii), Conservation Genetics, 18, (4) pp. 977-982. ISSN 1566-0621 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10592-017-0939-5


Tasmanian devils face a combination of threats to persistence, including devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), an epidemic transmissible cancer. We used RAD sequencing to investigate genome-wide patterns of genetic diversity and geographic population structure. Consistent with previous results, we found very low genetic diversity in the species as a whole, and we detected two broad genetic clusters occupying the northwestern portion of the range, and the central and eastern portions. However, these two groups overlap across a broad geographic area, and differentiation between them is modest (FST = 0.1081). Our results refine the geographic extent of the zone of mixed ancestry and substructure within it, potentially informing management of genetic variation that existed in pre-diseased populations of the species. DFTD has spread across both genetic clusters, but recent evidence points to a genomic response to selection imposed by DFTD. Any allelic variation for resistance to DFTD may be able to spread across the devil population under selection by DFTD, and/or be present as standing variation in both genetic regions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:conservation genomics, devil facial tumor disease, gene flow, population bottlenecks, RAD sequencing, transmissible cancer
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Schonfeld, B (Dr Barbara Schonfeld)
UTAS Author:Hamede, R (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
UTAS Author:Jones, M (Professor Menna Jones)
ID Code:116758
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-05-19
Last Modified:2018-05-08

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