The introduction of allochthonous species represents a serious threat for the native gene pools and ecosystem biodiversity. The effect is particularly disastrous for insular biocoenoses, such as in the Tuscan archipelago, one of the most important biodiversity hotspot in the Mediterranean area. The EU tool LIFE + has funded an eradication project involving a set of allochthonous species on Pianosa Island (http://www.resto conli fe.eu), including the European hedgehog (Erinaceus euro- paeus). Since eradication projects should not leave out of consideration a genetic analysis of the target species, the aim of our study was to characterize the genetic profile of the Pianosa hedgehog population. In particular, the data obtained had to help assessing the most compatible area for the release of all captured individuals. In the present work, eleven microsatellite loci and two mitochondrial gene portions (COXI and 16S) were characterized in individuals of E. europaeus from Pianosa, Elba, Sardinia Islands and mainland Italy. Both mtDNA and microsatellite data confirmed that the present-day population of Pianosa has an extremely low genetic diversity and a profile very similar to that of Elba. Consequently, our results do suggest that the Pianosa hedgehogs originated from a pool of individuals moved by human from
Conservation Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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