Translocations and releases of farm-reared birds are considered among the major drivers of genetic pollution with consequent loss of genetic diversity in wild populations. In this study, we aimed to assess the extent of hybridization and introgression in the Italian partridges as a consequence of translocation. We surveyed two mitochondrial markers and one nuclear marker of Alectoris and Perdix from collections (museums and private collections), extant wild populations and farms. Consistent with previous studies, we found haplotypes of allochthonous species within the same genus, likely due to introductions for hunting activities. In addition, we found hybrids between Perdix and Alectoris species with genetic markers from both genera in single individuals. Such introgression was bidirectional and in both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Counterintuitively, most of the hybrid samples came from collections before the 1950s, when large-scale translocations started, from wild populations where Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) and Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) overlap in their distribution, whereas only one hybrid occurred among the farmed birds. Our results suggest that Perdix and Alectoris species can hybridize in nature and that artificial translocations and releases of farm-reared birds for restocking or reintroduction purposes may be only partially responsible for the genomic mismatches of Italian partridges.

Mismatches between Morphology and DNA in Italian Partridges May Not Be Explained Only by Recent Artificial Release of Farm-Reared Birds

Lucentini L.
2022

Abstract

Translocations and releases of farm-reared birds are considered among the major drivers of genetic pollution with consequent loss of genetic diversity in wild populations. In this study, we aimed to assess the extent of hybridization and introgression in the Italian partridges as a consequence of translocation. We surveyed two mitochondrial markers and one nuclear marker of Alectoris and Perdix from collections (museums and private collections), extant wild populations and farms. Consistent with previous studies, we found haplotypes of allochthonous species within the same genus, likely due to introductions for hunting activities. In addition, we found hybrids between Perdix and Alectoris species with genetic markers from both genera in single individuals. Such introgression was bidirectional and in both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Counterintuitively, most of the hybrid samples came from collections before the 1950s, when large-scale translocations started, from wild populations where Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) and Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) overlap in their distribution, whereas only one hybrid occurred among the farmed birds. Our results suggest that Perdix and Alectoris species can hybridize in nature and that artificial translocations and releases of farm-reared birds for restocking or reintroduction purposes may be only partially responsible for the genomic mismatches of Italian partridges.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1507004
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