Low levels of genetic variation within introduced Javan rusa deer (Cervus timorensis russa) in Australia

L. S. Webley, K. R. Zenger, A. W. English, D. W. Cooper

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Javan rusa deer (Cervus timorensis russa) is one of six introduced wild deer species in Australia. The largest population is located in the Royal National Park (RNP), New South Wales, Australia. Although the deer are considered a pest in certain areas, they are also commercially valuable. Using molecular markers we aimed to characterise the level of genetic diversity within the RNP population and identify a possible genetic bottleneck associated with the introduction of seven founding individuals. We also aimed to identify appropriate polymorphic microsatellite loci that could assist in commercial breeding programmes and wild population management in Australia. The results indicate that Javan rusa deer from the RNP (n = 37) had an average (± SE) of only 2.29 ± 0.095 alleles/locus, which is substantially lower than that reported in source populations from New Caledonia (7.60 ± 0.933 alleles/locus). These data combined with the presence of 'genetic reduction signatures' (P <0.001) indicate that this population has experienced a population bottleneck possibly at the time of establishment in Australia. Despite low allelic diversity, the large suite of identified polymorphic loci (n = 24) shows promise for applications in population genetics, including parentage analysis (total parentage exclusion 0.944) within Australia. These data will contribute significantly to improving commercial breeding programmes and possibly to wild population management plans.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-140
    Number of pages4
    JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • genetic diversity
    • microsatellite loci
    • parentage
    • population bottleneck


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