Skip to main content

Applying new genomic technologies into the field of conservation genetics

Final Activity Report Summary - SNPCONGEN (Applying new genomic technologies into the field of conservation genetics)

The objectives of the project were to characterise populations of endangered animal species by novel genetic markers, assess the efficiency of such markers, compared to the commonly used ones, and use obtained genetic information for scientific and conservation purposes. We studied a number of animal species of conservation concern, including mammals (wolves, coyotes, wolverines and lynxes) and birds (greater spotted eagle, lesser spotted eagle and white-tailed eagle). Our results imply that variability at commonly used microsatellite marker sets may not accurately reflect the underlying genomic diversity and novel genomic single nucleotide polymorphism markers would provide more reliable results.

We also suggest that other markers, such as insertion-deletion polymorphisms (indels), could be an important source of genetic information; such markers are easy and inexpensive to genotype and have a high potential in studies of natural populations. Further, two topics of conservation and evolutionary importance were investigated in more detail.

Genes associated with speciation of two closely related eagle species, greater and lesser spotted eagles, are more often found in sex chromosomes but the difference is not as large as found in other bird species thus far. The two spotted eagles are able to hybridise and, according to our large-scale genetic survey, the hybiridisation poses an important threat to the globally threatened greater spotted eagle.