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Analysis of genetic diversity and population subdivision of Halys pit-viper (Gloydius halys) at the different spatial levels

Awarded: NOK 90,999

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2011 - 2012

Genetic diversity is one of the most important factors affecting viability of populations. Loss of genetic diversity can lead to inbreeding depression, reduction of the adaptive potential and weak tolerance of population to diseases, parasites and other s tressors. Thus, the understanding of how genetic diversity partitioning among populations is of high importance for conservation planning, as well as provide substantial contribution to our knowledge of species biology. Our objectives are to characterize genetic variability of Halys pit-viper (Gloydius halys) (Serpentes) at the landscape (< 20 km) and regional (> 300 km) spatial levels. This snake become locally endangered at the northern edge of its distribution range in the south of West Siberia, becaus e of the fragmented nature of their habitats and increasing impact of the human activity. We will use amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to assess levels of genetic diversity and population subdivision. It will be the first application of this method to study population genetics of snake species. Therefore, our second task is to compare performance of AFLP, microsatellites and inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR) in detection of polymorphism and subdivision at the fine scale (microsatel lites and ISSR data were obtained before). It will be the first comparative evaluation of the usefulness of these methods for study of genetic variability at the fine scale level in reptiles and will provide highly useful information for future study desi gn decisions. Analysis of G. halys genetic diversity and subdivision both at local and regional levels will provide essential information for conservation management and will be important for the developing of our insufficient theoretical notions about sp atial patterns of genetic variability in snakes.

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