An understanding of genetic variation and structure of pest populations has the potential to improve the efficiency of measures to control them. Genetic analysis was undertaken at five microsatellite loci in four native Australian and 14 introduced New Zealand populations of the common brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula in order to document these parameters. Genetic variation in New Zealand populations, and phylogenetic relationships among Australian and New Zealand populations, were largely predicted by the recorded introduction history. Populations on the two main islands of New Zealand had only slightly lower genetic diversity than did Australian populations, except that allelic richness on the South Is. was significantly lower. Diversity was higher in North Is. than in South Is. populations (although not significantly so) and mainland New Zealand populations as a group were significantly more diverse than offshore islands that represented secondary population size bottlenecks. In phylogenetic analyses South Is. and offshore island populations grouped with Tasmania, while North Is. populations grouped either with mainland Australia or were intermediate between the two Australian sources. This scheme was supported by admixture coefficients showing that North and South Is./offshore island populations were largely mainland Australian and Tasmanian in origin, respectively. Population structure differed markedly between the North and South Islands: populations were typically more genetically differentiated on the former than the latter, which also showed significant isolation-by-distance. Substantial linkage disequilibrium in most sampled New Zealand but no Australian population between microsatellite loci Tv16 and Tv27 suggests they may be physically linked.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|