The high value of sable (Martes zibellina L.) fur and stable demand for it over the centuries have led to suboptimal hunting patterns and, as a result, considerable fluctuations in the sizes of natural populations of this species. To maintain the traditional export of sable fur, efforts towards commercial domestication of sable have been made in Russia. The first farm population of sable consisted of animal from eight natural populations was founded in 1929. After the problems related to breeding in captivity were solved, directional selection began. Eighty years of breeding have resulted in sable herds with homogeneous quantitative characters. Prospects for further breeding depend on the current level of genetic diversity in the captive populations of sables formed during the first stages of domestication. The sable populations of the Pushkinsky and Saltykovsky fur farms located in Moscow oblast, which were the objects of this study, are the progenitors of the existing captive populations. The first estimation of genetic variation of this species by means of a panel of micro-satellite markers was developed for this study. Two captive sable populations were analyzed using ten micro-satellite loci; a total of 75 alleles were found in both populations. Population-specific alleles were identified (6 and 13 in the Pushkinsky and Saltykovsky populations, respectively). The populations studied were found to be differentiated with respect to four microsatellite loci.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 8, 2011
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