Mitochondrial-DNA variation and genetic-population structure in rocky mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis)

Gordon Luikart, Fred W. Allendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mitochondrial-DNA (mtDNA) variation in Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep was assessed to determine relationships among populations and the usefulness of mtDNA analysis for the conservation of bighorn sheep. Phylogeographic analysis revealed relatively divergent mtDNA haplotypes within herds and several geographically widespread haplotypes. This suggested that gene flow has occurred on a regional scale at some time in the past and that populations have not been subdivided by long-term biogeographic barriers. Nonetheless, significant differentiation in mtDNA-haplotype frequencies among herds suggested that little gene flow currently exists among populations. Failure to recognize that historical (phylogeographic) and current population structure may not be concordant could lead to erroneous conclusions and conservation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume77
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1996

Keywords

  • Bighorn sheep
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Ovis canadensis
  • Phylogeography
  • Population structure

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