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Genetic variation within the West European population of the Greylag goose (Anser anser)

Blaakmeer, K. (1995) Genetic variation within the West European population of the Greylag goose (Anser anser). Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Within the West European population of the Greylag goose (Anser anser), subpopulations of different breeding sites differ in their choice of migration route and -timing, as well as in the timing of their wing-moult and their biometrics. For these factors, the differences are between the Norwegian subpopulations versus all other subpopulations in western Europe. These differences give rise to the question whether these subpopulations can be distinguished on a genetical level. Seven subpopulations have been sampled: two Norwegian, two Swedish and three Dutch, and the genetic variation between these subpopulations was studied with six single minisatellite loci. These loci have been cloned from the study-species, as well as from another goose-species, the Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), at the Zoology department of the University of Leicester. The allele frequencies at the six loci are analysed with Wright's F-statistics and Nei's genetic distance for within subpopulation heterogeneity and the genetic divergence between subpopulations. One Dutch subpopulation, breeding in the Scheelhoek polder, shows a much lower variation than the other examined subpopulations and its allele frequency distributions differ significantly from all other subpopulations. It is the only subpopulation that is resident and that hardly mixes with any other subpopulations, probably due to its foundation by introduced geese. On top of this lack of gene flow, it is known that its founder population partly consisted of individuals of the eastern subspecies Anser anser rubrirostris that normally doesn't breed in western Europe. This could also cause this subpopulation to be different from the other subpopulations. Based on a small number of individuals and the only locus for which the Norwegian geese have been analysed, they differ from the Dutch and Swedish geese. Based on all six loci, the latter two subpopulations are only slightly different. This confirms the expectations based on the phenotypic differences, and it is argued that it is the lack of mixing with other subpopulations that is the main cause of the differentiation, both of the Scheelhoek population, as well as of the Norwegian subpopulations. For twelve goslings that were born of three pairs within a captive flock at the University of Groningen, the parentage was established with the same six minisatellite probes. Six goslings were of mixed parentage between geese that differ in the timing of their moulting period, while the other six goslings had two parents that start their moult simultaniously. The timing of the moulting period of these goslings will be assessed in future to study the expected genetic basis of this trait.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:47
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:47

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