A system of urban ecological genetic monitoring of vertebrates has been developed for the first time in Russia and in the world. As a model, two species of brown frogs, Rana arvalis Nilss. and R. temporaria L. (16 populations, seven isozyme loci) were used. An evaluation of the gene pool state in urban frog populations has shown that the diversity in the Moscow frog populations was lower than that in natural populations (up to 80 and 50% in respectively R. arvalis and R. temporaria). Mean heterozygosities per locus were higher in large natural populations than in small urban isolates: in R. arvalis, these values were 0.16 and 0.06; in R. temporaria, 0.34 and 0.18, respectively. The number of polymorphic loci was also higher in natural populations than in the urban ones: 4 versus 2 in R. arvalis and 5 versus 4 in R. temporaria. Using superoxiddismutase as an example, fixation of different alleles of the same locus in different small isolates was shown. The gene pool condition of all but one urban populations of brown frog was evaluated as unsatisfactory, and that of the R. arvalis populations, as critical. These changes of the gene pool are explained mainly by gene drift accompanied by inbreeding, which was caused by human-induced fragmentation of the range and a decrease in population size of the species. The results of this study was employed in the development of the Moscow governmental program on restoration of the gene pools of vanishing animal species on specially protected natural urban territories. The series of works on long-term monitoring and assessment of the state of natural populations of model species in anthropogenic landscapes of Moscow and Moscow region has laid a foundation for a new branch of science, gene urbanology.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2006
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