Royal Society Publishing

Single-Locus Profiling Reveals Loss of Variation in Inbred Populations of the Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

Celia A. May, Jon H. Wetton, Peter E. Davis, John F. Y. Brookfield, David T. Parkin


The genetic analysis of inbred populations has been facilitated by the development of Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) probes. We describe here the first use of a synthetic, concatenated simple sequence probe to detect a single VNTR locus and its use in differentiating populations of the red kite, one of Europe's most threatened birds of prey. Numbering 11000-13000 pairs, this species is patchily distributed, comprising several populations, some of which have recently suffered major bottlenecks. By using the (CCAT)$_{n}$ probe we have examined variation within and among four of these. The levels of heterozygosity and allelic diversity reflect each population's history but also reveal substructuring within the indigenous British population in Wales. Here a group of peripheral territories, which are amongst the most successful in the population, exhibit significantly lower heterozygosity than the main population, and appear to receive little genetic input from it.

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