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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Population genetic structure in farm and feral American mink (Neovison vison) inferred from RAD sequencing-generated single nucleotide polymorphisms1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 8, p. 3773-3782
    Received: Feb 09, 2015
    Accepted: May 28, 2015
    Published: July 24, 2015

    3 Corresponding author(s):

  1. J. P. Thirstrup 3*2,
  2. A. Ruiz-Gonzalez†‡§22,
  3. J. M. Pujolar#22,
  4. P. F. Larsen,
  5. J. Jensen*,
  6. E. Randi†¶,
  7. A. Zalewski** and
  8. C. Pertoldi††
  1. * Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
     Conservation Genetics Laboratory, National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Via Cà Fornacetta 9, I-40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia (BO), Italy
     Systematics, Biogeography and Population Dynamics Research Group, Lascaray Research Center, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Avda. Miguel de Unamuno, 3, E-01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    § Department of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), C/Paseo de la Universidad 7, E-01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    # Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
     Kopenhagen Research, Agro Food Park15, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
     Department 18/Section of Environmental Engineering, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
    * *Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, 17-230 Białowieża, Poland
     †Aalborg Zoo, Aalborg, Denmark


Feral American mink populations (Neovison vison), derived from mink farms, are widespread in Europe. In this study we investigated genetic diversity and genetic differentiation between feral and farm mink using a panel of genetic markers (194 SNP) generated from RAD sequencing data. Sampling included a total of 211 individuals from 14 populations, 4 feral and 10 from farms, the latter including a total of 7 color types (Brown, Black, Mahogany, Sapphire, White, Pearl, and Silver). Our study revealed similar low levels of genetic diversity in both farm and feral mink. Results are consistent with small effective population size as a consequence of line selection in the farms and founder effects of a few escapees from the farms in feral populations. Moderately high genetic differentiation was found between farm and feral animals, suggesting a scenario in which wild populations were founded from farm escapes a few decades ago. Currently, escapes and gene flow are probably limited. Genetic differentiation was higher among farm color types than among farms, consistent with line selection using few individuals to create the lines. Finally, no indications of inbreeding were found in either farm or feral samples, with significant negative FIS values found in most farm samples, showing farms are successful in avoiding inbreeding.

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