Turkish Journal of Zoology




Multidisciplinary approaches for the conservation of endangered species have great importance in preparing management plans. In addition to ecological and population demographic parameters, genetic data provide vital information for conservation management plans for a species. The Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni) suffers from illegal trade, fires, habitat fragmentation and destruction, and therefore, the genetic diversity of the regional populations has been affected. It was aimed herein to impart knowledge on the population genetic structure of T. hermanni boettgeri, listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as a subspecies and has limited distribution in European Türkiye. A study was conducted of 15 microsatellite loci of 221 tortoises from 15 different localities in the Thrace region in Türkiye. All of the examined loci were polymorphic, and the number of alleles varied from 2 to 13. The quantity of private alleles (Pa) at the localities ranged from 0 to 6. The average gene diversity was 0.31 (range: 0.25-0.38). The highest levels of allelic richness, private alleles, and genetic diversity (Ar, Pa, He) were observed at localities 3 and 7, close to each other. The total population (p < 0.001) and 12 of the 15 studied localities diverged from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Of the 15 localities studied, 6 had significantly different inbreeding coefficients. Furthermore, a 2-phased model of mutation (TPM) (p < 0.001) detected a recent bottleneck in the population. The population genetic results identified 8 groups with significant genetic structure (F$_{ST}$ = 0.166, p < 0.01) in 2 large clusters (K = 2).


European Türkiye, microsatellite, genetic diversity, cluster, management units

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