Special Issue "Conservation Genetics and Genomics of Small Wildlife Populations"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Arne Ludwig
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research, 10315 Berlin, Germany
Interests: conservation of endangered species; wildlife forensics and trade control; conservation genetics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Daniel W. G. Förster
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, 10315 Berlin, Germany
Interests: Carnivore genomics; conservation genetics; genome evolution; molecular ecology; felidae

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wildlife populations are under increasing pressure in the Anthropocene often resulting in decreasing numbers of individuals. On the one hand, landscape modification, poaching, over-exploration and climate change result in declining populations often separated in fragmented habitats and on the other hand, globalization and the increased movement of goods introduce invasive species in foreign habitats. We maintain also ex-situ populations for various purposes (zoos/breeding facilities/farms/etc.) sometimes used for release programs. Nowadays, studies of small populations often come in one of two flavours: those motivated by immediate, short-term concerns (e.g., conservation efforts) and those with a long-term, evolutionary perspective (e.g., adaptation and demography). As technological innovations provide ever greater genetic and genomic insights in recent years, the distinction of these two perspectives at ecological and evolutionary timescales begins to blur and consequently we want to bring both issues together in this Special Issue asking for manuscripts with an evolutionary conservation background.

We would like to put the focus on non-model species with a particular emphasis on studies of less investigated wildlife species, because research has often focused on a small number of iconic flagship species only, and many wildlife species are still under-investigated. These iconic flagship species may generate huge awareness for species conservation, but represent only a small part of global biodiversity. The less addressed species do not only improve our understanding of general principles, but they also offer insights into the evolution of their unique traits. Recent developments in genetics and genomics offer great potential to investigate these less addressed species.

This Special Issue asks for articles on one or more of the issues below but is also open for other topics addressing small wildlife populations.

 

Prof. Dr. Arne Ludwig
Dr. Daniel W. G. Förster
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Conservation genetics and genomics of endangered species
  • Genetics of ex-situ populations (pedigree analysis; inbreeding; heterosis)
  • Genetic reasons for outbreeding depressions
  • DNA barcoding
  • Gene flow and immigration events
  • Genetics of founder events of invasive species
  • Underlying genetics of adaptation and how local differences contribute to species-wide diversity
  • How to differentiate between demographic and selection processes
  • Tracking diversity loss through time, in longitudinal studies, or by incorporating archival (e.g., museum) samples

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Diversity and Paleodemography of the Addax (Addax nasomaculatus), a Saharan Antelope on the Verge of Extinction
Genes 2021, 12(8), 1236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12081236 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Since the 19th century, the addax (Addax nasomaculatus) has lost approximately 99% of its former range. Along with its close relatives, the blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) and the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), the addax may be the [...] Read more.
Since the 19th century, the addax (Addax nasomaculatus) has lost approximately 99% of its former range. Along with its close relatives, the blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) and the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), the addax may be the third large African mammal species to go extinct in the wild in recent times. Despite this, the evolutionary history of this critically endangered species remains virtually unknown. To gain insight into the population history of the addax, we used hybridization capture to generate ten complete mitochondrial genomes from historical samples and assembled a nuclear genome. We found that both mitochondrial and nuclear diversity are low compared to other African bovids. Analysis of mitochondrial genomes revealed a most recent common ancestor ~32 kya (95% CI 11–58 kya) and weak phylogeographic structure, indicating that the addax likely existed as a highly mobile, panmictic population across its Sahelo–Saharan range in the past. PSMC analysis revealed a continuous decline in effective population size since ~2 Ma, with short intermediate increases at ~500 and ~44 kya. Our results suggest that the addax went through a major bottleneck in the Late Pleistocene, remaining at low population size prior to the human disturbances of the last few centuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics of Small Wildlife Populations)
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Article
Mitogenome Phylogeny Including Data from Additional Subspecies Provides New Insights into the Historical Biogeography of the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx
Genes 2021, 12(8), 1216; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12081216 - 06 Aug 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Previous molecular studies of the wide-ranging Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx focused mainly on its northern Palearctic populations, with the consequence that the reconstruction of this species’ evolutionary history did not include genetic variation present in its southern Palearctic distribution. We sampled a previously [...] Read more.
Previous molecular studies of the wide-ranging Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx focused mainly on its northern Palearctic populations, with the consequence that the reconstruction of this species’ evolutionary history did not include genetic variation present in its southern Palearctic distribution. We sampled a previously not considered Asian subspecies (L. l. dinniki), added published data from another Asian subspecies (L. l. isabellinus), and reassessed the Eurasian lynx mtDNA phylogeny along with previously published data from northern Palearctic populations. Our mitogenome-based analyses revealed the existence of three major clades (A: Central Asia, B: SE Europe/SW Asia, C: Europe and Northern Asia) and at least five lineages, with diversification in Lynx lynx commencing at least 28kyr earlier than hitherto estimated. The subspecies L. l. isabellinus harbors the most basal matriline, consistent with the origin of Lynx lynx in this subspecies’ current range. L. l. dinniki harbors the second most basal matriline, which is related to, and may be the source of, the mtDNA diversity of the critically endangered Balkan lynx L. l. balcanicus. Our results suggest that the Anatolian peninsula was a glacial refugium for Eurasian lynx, with previously unconsidered implications for the colonization of Europe by this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics of Small Wildlife Populations)
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Review

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Review
Fifty Years of Research on European Mink Mustela lutreola L., 1761 Genetics: Where Are We Now in Studies on One of the Most Endangered Mammals?
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes11111332 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
The purpose of this review is to present the current state of knowledge about the genetics of European mink Mustela lutreola L., 1761, which is one of the most endangered mammalian species in the world. This article provides a comprehensive description of the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this review is to present the current state of knowledge about the genetics of European mink Mustela lutreola L., 1761, which is one of the most endangered mammalian species in the world. This article provides a comprehensive description of the studies undertaken over the last 50 years in terms of cytogenetics, molecular genetics, genomics (including mitogenomics), population genetics of wild populations and captive stocks, phylogenetics, phylogeography, and applied genetics (including identification by genetic methods, molecular ecology, and conservation genetics). An extensive and up-to-date review and critical analysis of the available specialist literature on the topic is provided, with special reference to conservation genetics. Unresolved issues are also described, such as the standard karyotype, systematic position, and whole-genome sequencing, and hotly debated issues are addressed, like the origin of the Southwestern population of the European mink and management approaches of the most distinct populations of the species. Finally, the most urgent directions of future research, based on the research questions arising from completed studies and the implementation of conservation measures to save and restore M. lutreola populations, are outlined. The importance of the popularization of research topics related to European mink genetics among scientists is highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics of Small Wildlife Populations)
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