Conservation genetics of European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris): a wide and integrating analysis protocol for admixture inferences and population structure

Mattucci, Federica (2014) Conservation genetics of European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris): a wide and integrating analysis protocol for admixture inferences and population structure , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione, 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6459.
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Introgression of domestic cat genes into European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) populations and reduction of wildcats’ range in Europe, leaded by habitat loss and fragmentation, are considered two of the main conservation problems for this endangered feline. This thesis addressed the questions related with the artificial hybridization and populations’ fragmentation, using a conservation genetics perspective. We combined the use of highly polymorphic loci, Bayesian statistical inferences and landscape analyses tools to investigate the origin of the geographic-genetic substructure of European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) in Italy and Europe. The genetic variability of microsatellites evidenced that European wildcat populations currently distributed in Italy differentiated in, and expanded from two distinct glacial refuges during the Last Glacial Maximum. The genetic and geographic substructure detected between the eastern and western sides of the Apennine ridge, resulted by adaptation to specific ecological conditions of the Mediterranean habitats. European wildcat populations in Europe are strongly structured into 5 geographic-genetic macro clusters corresponding to: the Italian peninsular & Sicily; Balkans & north-eastern Italy; Germany eastern; central Europe; and Iberian Peninsula. Central European population might have differentiated in the extra-Mediterranean Würm ice age refuge areas (Northern Alps, Carpathians, and the Bulgarian mountain systems), while the divergence among and within the southern European populations might have resulted by the Pleistocene bio geographical framework of Europe, with three southern refugia localized in the Balkans, Italian Peninsula and Iberia Peninsula. We further combined the use of most informative autosomal SNPs with uniparental markers (mtDNA and Y-linked) for accurately detecting parental genotypes and levels of introgressive hybridization between European wild and domestic cats. A total of 11 hybrids were identified. The presence of domestic mitochondrial haplotypes shared with some wild individuals led us to hypnotize the possibility that ancient introgressive events might have occurred and that further investigation should be recommended.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Mattucci, Federica
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
European wildcat, domestic cat, hybridization, fragmentation, microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), mtDNA, Y-linked markers, conservation genetics, landscape analysis,
Data di discussione
8 Maggio 2014

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