Zaks Svetlana Sergeevna, Candidate of biological sciences, senior researcher, research department, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), email@example.com
Kuzmin Anton Alekseevich, Candidate of biological sciences, associate professor, sub-department of biotechnology and technosphere safety, Penza State Technological University (1a/11 Baydukova lane/Gagarina street, Penza, Russia), firstname.lastname@example.org
Titov Sergey Vital'evich, Doctor of biological sciences, professor, head of sub-department of zoology and ecology, dean of the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), email@example.com
Background. Studying of population polymorphism in wide spread animal species was and still remains one of topical tasks of population ecology. Such researches are especially necessary when studing habitats of species rapidly decreasing in numbers or having a long-term depressed condition. The goal of the research work is to study genetic polymorphism levels of specimens in living populations of the spotted round squirrel (Spermophilus suslicus Güld.), found in the territory of Middle Volga Region, using microsatellite DNA markers.
Materials and methods. The genetic structure of 28 local spotted ground squirrel populations in the territory of Middle Volga Region was studied. The total sample size – 131 individuals. The authors used primers specific for squirrels applied to amplify fragments containing microsatellite repeats in three loci STR1, Ssu16, Ssu17. The populations’ genetic structure was described using Arlequin ver. 3.1 and Statistica for Windows software.
Results. Considering the spotted ground squirrel populations the author detected 10 alleles for locus STR1, 10 alleles for locus Ssu16 and 9 alleles for locus Ssu17. The researchers also obtained the indices of standard and molecular intrapopulation variability. The average value of the fixation index of gametes (FST) amounted to 0,250. The populations of the speckled ground squirrel featured discrepancy between expected and observed heterozygosity and loss of alleles per locus. The fixation index of gametes revealed a high level of genetic heterogeneity of the local populations of S. suslicus. The gametes fixing indices within local populations and within metapopulations were almost 2 times lower than the haplotypes fixing indices between local populations from various metapopulations.
Conclusions. When examining the spotted ground squirrel populations the authors noticed manifestation of destructive population processes expressed in discrepancy between expected and observed heterozygosity of populations and loss of alleles per locus (when populations pass the “bottleneck” stage). The analysis of both gametes fixing and “Δ μ2” indices, characterizing genetic distances between populations, confirm ed the proposed metapopulation model of the eastern part of the spotted ground squirrel habitat to be reliable.
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