Journal Article

<i>Ex situ</i> conservation status of an endangered Yangtze finless porpoise population (<i>Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis</i>) as measured from microsatellites and mtDNA diversity

Junhong Xia, Jinsong Zheng and Ding Wang

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 8, pages 1711-1716
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.06.002
Ex situ conservation status of an endangered Yangtze finless porpoise population (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) as measured from microsatellites and mtDNA diversity

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The Yangtze finless porpoise, Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis, is an endangered small cetacean that occurs only in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River of China. The establishment of a breeding population of the porpoise in Tian-e-Zhou Baiji National Natural Reserve represents the first attempt at ex situ conservation efforts for a cetacean species. With the goal of effective protection, management, and monitoring of this preserved population, we examined its genetic diversity using 930 bp of mtDNA control region sequences and 13 polymorphic microsatellite loci. A very low level of genetic variation (h = 0.6010 ± 0.0029 s.d.; π = 0.0007 ± 0.0000002 s.d.) in the mtDNA control region sequences and a moderate genetic diversity (Ho = 0.5740 ± 0.2575 s.d.) in the microsatellites were detected in the population. It is necessary to introduce more individuals with representative genetic variations into the reserve in order to form a larger and healthier group structure for long-term survival of the population. Successful establishment of the Yangtze finless porpoise population in the Reserve also provides a useful model for an ex situ conservation programme for other rare and endangered species.

Keywords: ex situ conservation; genetic diversity; Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis

Journal Article.  3674 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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