1022-7954/05/4111- © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc.
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 41, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1230–1244. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 41, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1495–1510.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Makeeva, Belokon, Malyuchenko.
Preserving and restoring biodiversity in degrading
natural ecosystems of anthropogenic environments of
the Earth is among the most urgent tasks of the modern
times. A key prerequisite for the existence of species
diversity is historically formed genetic diversity of their
natural populations [1, 2]. Genetic diversity is an
important characteristic of ecosystems, ensuring
homeostasis of populations and their adaptation to
changing environments [3, 4].
The maintenance of genetic stability of wild animal
populations in anthropogenic environments requires
understanding mechanisms and factors of the human
impact that changes the genetic structure of the popula-
tions . This study was motivated by the necessity of
developing a strategy of restoring population biodiver-
sity in specially preserved territories of Moscow.
Apparently, development of a program of restoring ani-
mal biodiversity in Moscow is impossible without
assessing the actual state of the gene pools of wild ani-
mals, inhabiting protected natural ecosystems of the
city, which determined the aim of the present study.
Solving this task also permits estimating the role and
determining the mechanism of anthropogenic impact
on the genetic structure of wild animal populations
inhabiting urbanized environments.
As a model allowing to detect changes in the wild
animal gene pool under anthropogenic pressure, we
have selected a land mollusk, bush snail
Müll. This choice was based on the experience
of 25-year monitoring of the gene pool dynamics of this
species populations in anthropogenic, including urban-
ized, environments [3–12, 14, 34–36], as well as the
virtually complete absence of analogous works in
Bush snail is characterized by high polymorphism
of conchiological (shell) and biochemical characters.
Since 1975 (the reference time point), this species has
been utilized for monitoring population structure
dynamics in the anthropogenic environment of Moscow
and Moscow region . The results of 25-year monitor-
ing are based on analysis of more than 30 000 shells and
5000 electrophoregrams from ten populations. To trace
the genetic structure dynamics, change in frequencies
of three polymorphic loci (two loci controlling shell
characters and one biochemical locus for nonspeciﬁc
esterases) were employed. The results showed the role
of natural selection and gene drift in the formation of
genotypic composition of the populations [5–7, 11].
Estimating the Gene Pool Condition in Natural Populations
of Invertebrates in the Fragmented Landscape of Moscow
and Moscow Region with Special Reference to Bush Snail
V. M. Makeeva
, M. M. Belokon
, and O. P. Malyuchenko
Museum of the Science of the Earth, Moscow State University, Moscow, 119899 Russia; e-mail: email@example.com
Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991 Russia; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received April 26, 2005
—Using bush snail
Müll (20 populations) as a model, we were the ﬁrst in Russia
and in the world to develop a system of urban ecological genetic monitoring of the gene pool of an invertebrate
species. The results of isozyme polymorphism studies in bush snail populations showed a dramatic (up to 70%)
reduction in genetic diversity in small isolates from the urbanized environment as compared to large natural
populations. In urban populations, genetic diversity parameters were demonstrated to be lower than in natural
ones: the mean heterozygosity per locus was reduced up to 0.08 (0.15–0.20 in natural populations); the mean
allele number, to 1.9 (2.7 in natural populations); and the number of polymorphic loci, to four, i.e., 2.2-fold
(nine in natural populations). In Moscow region, the number of polymorphic loci also decreased to ﬁve in the
population subjected to anthropogenic pressure. The changes in the population gene pool (as shown by the num-
ber of polymorphic loci) were different in Moscow and Moscow region. The percentage of populations with the
number of polymorphic loci as low as four to six was 76.9 in Moscow and 23.1% in Moscow region. The gene
pool quality of 80% of the urban snail populations was estimated as unsatisfactory, and in half of them, as crit-
ical. The main reason for these changes seems to be genetic drift accompanied by inbreeding, caused by frag-
mentation of the range and reduction in the abundance of populations of the species, due to the anthropogenic
pressure. The results of the study were employed in the program of the Moscow government for restoring the
gene pools of endangered animals species on the preserved territories of the city.