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Pure Appl. Chem., 2002, Vol. 74, No. 4, pp. 575-584

Genetic diversity and conservation of endangered animal species

Ya-ping Zhang1*, Xiao-xia Wang1, Oliver A. Ryder2, Hai-peng Li1, He-ming Zhang3, Yange Yong4 and Peng-yan Wang3

1 Laboratory of Molecular Evolution and Genome Diversity, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, P.R. China
2 Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, CA 92112, USA
3 Wolong Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda, Sichuan 623006, P.R. China
4 Foping National Nature Reserve, Shanxi 723400, P.R. China

Abstract: The loss of biodiversity resulting from extinctions is receiving increasing attention. Over several thousands of animal species have been evaluated and recognized as endangered species. Inbreeding depression has been demonstrated in many wild animal species. Here we sequenced 655-978 bp mitochodrial D-loop region of 32 individuals from four regional giant panda populations. Sixteen haplotypes were observed. AMOVE analysis demonstrated that genetic differentiation was not significant in the overall population, except the Qingling population. The current panda population may recover from a recent severe bottleneck that occurred about 43 000 years ago. Combining with our results on two endangered snub-nosed monkey species and one common hare species, different scenarios for low genetic variation have been discussed. Our results suggest that low genetic variation does not necessary result from a recent bottleneck, and it is not necessarily an indication of the level of endangerment.