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Open Life Sciences

formerly Central European Journal of Biology

Editor-in-Chief: Ratajczak, Mariusz

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Volume 7, Issue 4


Volume 10 (2015)

Population genetics of the hazel hen Bonasa bonasia in Poland assessed with non-invasive samples

Robert Rutkowski / Marek Keller
  • Department of Forest Zoology and Game Management, Faculty of Forestry, Warsaw University of Agriculture, 02-776, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Patrycja Jagołkowska
Published Online: 2012-06-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-012-0051-2


Despite a severe decrease in the number of hazel hens during the 20th century, nowadays this grouse species is rather common in the forests of Northeastern and Southern Poland. We used mitochondrial control region and microsatellite markers to examine the genetic variability of Polish populations of hazel hens. We used non-invasively collected faeces to estimate genetic variability within populations, genetic differentiation among populations as well as genetic differentiation between two regions inhabited by two different subspecies of hazel hens. Our results confirm the usefulness of DNA from faeces to obtain reliable information on the population genetics of hazel hens. We found a rather high level of genetic variability in the Polish population. Genetic variability was higher in birds from continuous forests in the South of the country than in birds from fragmented habitats in the Northeast. Genetic differentiation was higher among subpopulations from Northeastern Poland. Additionally, both classes of molecular markers suggested the presence of two distinct genetic groups of birds, corresponding to previously described subspecies. We conclude that the genetic variability of the Polish hazel hen population has been influenced by habitat fragmentation and the history of the population during its post-glacial colonization of Poland from different glacial refugia.

Keywords: Hazel hen; Bonasa bonasia; Cross-species amplification; Microsatellites; Non-invasive sampling; Genetic differentiation

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About the article

Published Online: 2012-06-03

Published in Print: 2012-08-01

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences, Volume 7, Issue 4, Pages 759–775, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-012-0051-2.

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