The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) is an underground-dwelling mammal, native to the Tibetan plateau of China. A set of 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci has been developed earlier. Its reliability for parentage assignment has been tested in a plateau pika population. Two family groups with a known pedigree were used to validate the power of this set of markers.
The error in parentage assignment using a combination of these 10 loci was very low as indicated by their power of discrimination (0.803 - 0.932), power of exclusion (0.351 - 0.887), and an effectiveness of the combined probability of exclusion in parentage assignment of 99.999%.
All the offspring of a family could be assigned to their biological mother; and their father or relatives could also be identified. This set of markers therefore provides a powerful and efficient tool for parentage assignment and other population analyses in the plateau pika.
A study was conducted to assess the feasibility of applying a panel of 10 microsatellite markers in parentage control of beef cattle in Portugal. In the first stage, DNA samples were collected from 475 randomly selected animals of the Charolais, Limousin and Preta breeds. Across breeds and genetic markers, means for average number of alleles, effective number of alleles, expected heterozygosity and polymorphic information content, were 8.20, 4.43, 0.733 and 0.70, respectively. Enlightenment from the various markers differed among breeds, but the set of 10 markers resulted in a combined probability above 0.9995 in the ability to exclude a random putative parent. The marker-set thus developed was later used for parentage control in a group of 140 calves from several breeds, where there was the suspicion of possible faulty parentage recording. Overall, 76.4% of the calves in this group were compatible with the recorded parents, with most incompatibilities due to misidentification of the dam. Efforts must be made to improve the quality of pedigree information, with particular emphasis on information recorded at the calf's birth.
cattle; genetic markers; microsatellites; parentage control
Seventeen commercial and research laboratories participated in two comparison tests under the auspices of the International Society for Animal Genetics to develop an internationally tested, microsatellite-based parentage and identification panel for the domestic cat (Felis catus). Genetic marker selection was based on the polymorphism information content and allele ranges from seven random-bred populations (n = 261) from the USA, Europe and Brazil and eight breeds (n = 200) from the USA. Nineteen microsatellite markers were included in the comparison test and genotyped across the samples. Based on robustness and efficiency, nine autosomal microsatellite markers were ultimately selected as a single multiplex ‘core’ panel for cat identification and parentage testing. Most markers contained dinucleotide repeats. In addition to the autosomal markers, the panel included two gender-specific markers, amelogenin and zinc-finger XY, which produced genotypes for both the X and Y chromosomes. This international cat parentage and identification panel has a power of exclusion comparable to panels used in other species, ranging from 90.08% to 99.79% across breeds and 99.47% to 99.87% in random-bred cat populations.
cat; feline; identification; microsatellite; parentage
The lack of a Near Eastern genetic signature in modern European porcine breeds indicates that, although domestic pigs from the Fertile Crescent entered Europe during the Neolithic, they were completely replaced by their European counterparts in a short window of time. Whilst the absence of such genetic signature has been convincingly demonstrated at the mitochondrial level, variation at the autosomal genomes of European and Near Eastern Sus scrofa has not been compared yet. Herewith, we have explored the genetic relationships among 43 wild boar from Europe (N = 21), Near East (N = 19) and Korea (N = 3), and 40 Iberian (N = 16), Canarian (N = 4) and Mangalitza (N = 20) pigs by using a high throughput SNP genotyping platform. After data filtering, 37,167 autosomal SNPs were used to perform population genetics analyses. A multidimensional scaling plot based on genome-wide identity-by-state pairwise distances inferred with PLINK showed that Near Eastern and European wild boar populations are genetically differentiated. Maximum likelihood trees built with TreeMix supported this conclusion i.e. an early population split between Near Eastern and European Sus scrofa was observed. Moreover, analysis of the data with Structure evidenced that the sampled Iberian, Canarian and Mangalitza pigs did not carry any autosomal signature compatible with a Near Eastern ancestry, a finding that agrees well with previous mitochondrial studies.
Game species are often manipulated by human beings, whose activities can deeply affect their genetic make-up and population structure. We focused on a geographically isolated wild boar population (Sardinia, Italy), which is classified, together with the Corsican population, as a separate subspecies (Sus scrofa meridionalis). Two hundred and ten wild boars collected across Sardinia were analysed with a set of 10 microsatellites and compared with 296 reference genotypes from continental wild populations and to a sample of domestic pigs. The Sardinian population showed remarkable diversity and a high proportion of private alleles, and strongly deviated from the equilibrium. A Bayesian cluster analysis of only the Sardinian sample revealed a partition into five subpopulations. However, two different Bayesian approaches to the assignment of individuals, accounting for different possible source populations, produced consistent results and proved the admixed nature of the Sardinian population. Indeed, introgressive hybridization with boars from multiple sources (Italian peninsula, central Europe, domestic stocks) was detected, although poor evidence of crossbreeding with free-ranging domestic pigs was unexpectedly found. After excluding individuals who carried exotic genes, the population re-entered Hardy–Weinberg proportions and a clear population structure with three subpopulations emerged. Therefore, the inclusion of introgressed animals in the Bayesian analysis implied an overestimation of the number of clusters. Nonetheless, two of them were consistent between analyses and corresponded to highly pure stocks, located, respectively, in north-west and south-west Sardinia. This work shows the critical importance of including adequate reference samples when studying the genetic structure of managed wild populations.
Sus scrofa; domestic pig; microsatellites; admixture analysis; genetic structure; introgressive hybridization
The goal of this study was describing the temporal evolution of Aujeszky's disease virus (ADV) contact prevalence among Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) populations under different management regimes and contact likelihoods with domestic pigs. Given the recent increase in wild boar abundance throughout Europe, we hypothesized that wild boar contact with ADV would remain stable in time even after significant reduction of ADV prevalence in domestic pigs.
Sera from 1659 wild boar were collected from 2000 to 2010 within 6 areas of the Iberian Peninsula and tested for the presence of antibodies against ADV by ELISA. According to sampling date, wild boar were grouped into three time periods. ADV prevalence was compared through period both globally and by geographic area. Overall seroprevalence for the ten-year study period was 49.6 ± 2.4%. The highest seroprevalence was recorded in areas with intense wild boar management. The annual proportion of positive wild boar sampling sites remained stable through the study period, while the percentage of domestic pig AD positive counties decreased from 70% in 2003 to 1.7% in 2010.
Results presented herein confirmed our hypothesis that ADV would remain almost stable in wild boar populations. This evidences the increasing risk wild boar pose in the final stages of ADV eradication in pigs and for wildlife conservation.
Disease control; Monitoring; Pseudorabies; Seroprevalence; Sus scrofa; Wildlife
For 10,000 years pigs and humans have shared a close and complex relationship. From domestication to modern breeding practices, humans have shaped the genomes of domestic pigs. Here we present the assembly and analysis of the genome sequence of a female domestic Duroc pig (Sus scrofa) and a comparison with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Wild pigs emerged in South East Asia and subsequently spread across Eurasia. Our results reveal a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars ~1 million years ago, and a selective sweep analysis indicates selection on genes involved in RNA processing and regulation. Genes associated with immune response and olfaction exhibit fast evolution. Pigs have the largest repertoire of functional olfactory receptor genes, reflecting the importance of smell in this scavenging animal. The pig genome sequence provides an important resource for further improvements of this important livestock species, and our identification of many putative disease-causing variants extends the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.
Due to the parallel increase of the number of free-ranging wild boar and domestic pigs reared outdoor, the risk that they interact has become higher. Contacts with wild boar can be the origin of disease outbreaks in pigs, as it has been documented for brucellosis in some European countries. This study aimed at quantifying the occurrence of contacts between wild boar and outdoor domestic pigs in Switzerland, and identifying risk factors for these contacts. Furthermore, exposed pigs were tested for pathogen spill-over, taking Brucella suis as an example because B. suis is widespread in Swiss wild boar while domestic pigs are officially free of brucellosis.
Thirty-one percent of the game-wardens and 25% of the pig owners participating to a country-wide questionnaire survey reported contacts, including approaches of wild boar outside the fence, intrusions, and mating. Seventeen piggeries (5%) reported the birth of cross-bred animals. Risk factors for contacts identified by a uni- and multivariable logistic regression approach were: distance between pigs enclosure and houses, proximity of a forest, electric fences, and fences ≤ 60 cm. Pigs of the Mangalitza breed were most at risk for mating with wild boar (births of cross-bred animals). Blood and tissues of 218 outdoor pigs from 13 piggeries were tested for an infection with Brucella suis, using rose bengal test, complement fixation test, and an IS711-based real-time PCR. One piggery with previous wild boar contacts was found infected with B. suis, however, epidemiological investigations failed to identify the direct source of infection.
Results show that interactions between wild boar and outdoor pigs are not uncommon, pointing at the existing risk of pathogen spill-over. Provided data on risk factors for these interactions could help the risk-based implementation of protection measures for piggeries. The documentation of a brucellosis outbreak in pigs despite the freedom-of-disease status underlines the importance of improving pathogen surveillance strategies and increasing disease awareness of farmers and veterinary practitioners.
Brucella suis; Brucellosis; Interactions; Outdoor pigs; Risk factors; Spill-over; Wild boar
The European wild boar Sus scrofa was first introduced into Uruguay, in southern South America during the early decades of the last century. Subsequently, and starting from founder populations, its range spread throughout the country and into the neighbouring Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul. Due to the subsequent negative impact, it was officially declared a national pest. The main aim in the present study was to provide a more comprehensive scenario of wild boar differentiation in Uruguay, by using mtDNA markers to access the genetic characterization of populations at present undergoing rapid expansion. A high level of haplotype diversity, intermediate levels of nucleotide diversity and considerable population differentiation, were detected among sampled localities throughout major watercourses and catchment dams countrywide. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of two different phylogroups, thereby reflecting two deliberate introduction events forming distantly genetic lineages in local wild boar populations. Our analysis lends support to the hypothesis that the invasive potential of populations emerge from introgressive hybridization with domestic pigs. On taking into account the appreciable differentiation and reduced migration between locales in wild boar populations, management strategies could be effective if each population were to be considered as a single management unit.
Uruguayan wild boar
To obtain robust epidemiological information regarding tuberculosis (TB) in wildlife species, appropriate diagnostic methods need to be used. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) recently emerged as a major maintenance host for TB in some European countries. Nevertheless, no data is available to evaluate TB post-mortem diagnostic methods in hunter-harvested wild boar.
Six different diagnostic methods for TB were evaluated in parallel in 167 hunter-harvested wild boar. Compared to bacteriological culture, estimates of sensitivity of histopathology was 77.8%, gross pathology 72.2%, PCR for the MPB70 gene 66.7%, detection of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) in tissue contact smears 55.6% and in histopathology slides 16.7% (estimated specificity was 96.7%, 100%, 100%, 94.4% and 100%, respectively). Combining gross pathology with stained smears in parallel increased estimated sensitivity to 94.4% (94.4% specificity). Four probable bacteriological culture false-negative animals were identified by Discriminant Function Analysis. Recalculating the parameters considering these animals as infected generated estimated values for sensitivity of bacteriology and histopathology of 81.8%, gross pathology 72.7%, PCR for the MPB70 gene 63.6%, detection of AFB in tissue contact smears 54.5% and in histopathology slides 13.6% (estimated specificity was 100% for gross pathology, PCR, bacteriology and detection of AFB in histopathology slides, 96.7% for histopathology and 94.4% for stained smears).
These results show that surveys for TB in wild boar based exclusively on gross pathology considerably underestimate prevalence, while combination of tests in parallel much improves sensitivity and negative predictive values. This finding should thus be considered when planning future surveys and game meat inspection schemes. Although bacteriological culture is the reference test for TB diagnosis, it can generate false-negative results and this should be considered when interpreting data.
The role of wildlife as a brucellosis reservoir for humans and domestic livestock remains to be properly established. The aim of this work was to determine the aetiology, apparent prevalence, spatial distribution and risk factors for brucellosis transmission in several Iberian wild ungulates.
A multi-species indirect immunosorbent assay (iELISA) using Brucella S-LPS antigen was developed. In several regions having brucellosis in livestock, individual serum samples were taken between 1999 and 2009 from 2,579 wild bovids, 6,448 wild cervids and4,454 Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), and tested to assess brucellosis apparent prevalence. Strains isolated from wild boar were characterized to identify the presence of markers shared with the strains isolated from domestic pigs.
Mean apparent prevalence below 0.5% was identified in chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica), Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica), and red deer (Cervus elaphus). Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), fallow deer (Dama dama), mouflon (Ovis aries) and Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) tested were seronegative. Only one red deer and one Iberian wild goat resulted positive in culture, isolating B. abortus biovar 1 and B. melitensis biovar 1, respectively. Apparent prevalence in wild boar ranged from 25% to 46% in the different regions studied, with the highest figures detected in South-Central Spain. The probability of wild boar being positive in the iELISA was also affected by age, age-by-sex interaction, sampling month, and the density of outdoor domestic pigs. A total of 104 bacterial isolates were obtained from wild boar, being all identified as B. suis biovar 2. DNA polymorphisms were similar to those found in domestic pigs.
In conclusion, brucellosis in wild boar is widespread in the Iberian Peninsula, thus representing an important threat for domestic pigs. By contrast, wild ruminants were not identified as a significant brucellosis reservoir for livestock.
The number of vertebrae in pigs varies and is associated with body size. Wild boars have 19 vertebrae, but European commercial breeds for pork production have 20 to 23 vertebrae. We previously identified two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for number of vertebrae on Sus scrofa chromosomes (SSC) 1 and 7, and reported that an orphan nuclear receptor, NR6A1, was located at the QTL on SSC1. At the NR6A1 locus, wild boars and Asian local breed pigs had the wild-type allele and European commercial-breed pigs had an allele associated with increased numbers of vertebrae (number-increase allele).
Here, we performed a map-based study to define the other QTL, on SSC7, for which we detected genetic diversity in European commercial breeds. Haplotype analysis with microsatellite markers revealed a 41-kb conserved region within all the number-increase alleles in the present study. We also developed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 450-kb region around the QTL and used them for a linkage disequilibrium analysis and an association study in 199 independent animals. Three haplotype blocks were detected, and SNPs in the 41-kb region presented the highest associations with the number of vertebrae. This region encodes an uncharacterized hypothetical protein that is not a member of any other known gene family. Orthologs appear to exist not only in mammals but also birds and fish. This gene, which we have named vertnin (VRTN) is a candidate for the gene associated with variation in vertebral number. In pigs, the number-increase allele was expressed more abundantly than the wild-type allele in embryos. Among candidate polymorphisms, there is an insertion of a SINE element (PRE1) into the intron of the Q allele as well as the SNPs in the promoter region.
Genetic diversity of VRTN is the suspected cause of the heterogeneity of the number of vertebrae in commercial-breed pigs, so the polymorphism information should be directly useful for assessing the genetic ability of individual animals. The number-increase allele of swine VRTN was suggested to add an additional thoracic segment to the animal. Functional analysis of VRTN may provide novel findings in the areas of developmental biology.
Wild boars (Sus scrofa) are indigenous in many countries in the world. These free-living swine are known reservoirs for a number of viruses, bacteria and parasites that are transmissible to domestic animals and humans. Changes of human habitation to suburban areas, increased use of lands for agricultural purposes, increased hunting activities and consumption of wild boar meat have increased the chances of exposure of wild boars to domestic animals and humans. Wild boars can act as reservoirs for many important infectious diseases in domestic animals, such as classical swine fever, brucellosis and trichinellosis, and in humans, diseases such as hepatitis E, tuberculosis, leptospirosis and trichinellosis. For examples, wild boars are reservoirs for hepatitis E virus, and cluster cases of hepatitis E have been reported in Japan of humans who consumed wild boar meat. In Canada, an outbreak of trichinellosis was linked to the consumption of wild boar meat. The incidence of tuberculosis owing to Mycobacterium bovis has increased in wild boars, thus posing a potential concern for infections in livestock and humans. It has also been documented that six hunters contracted Brucella suis infections from wild swine in Florida. This article discusses the prevalence and risk of infectious agents in wild boars and their potential transmission to livestock and humans.
wild boar; swine; zoonosis; hepatitis E virus; trichinellosis; tuberculosis
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is considered an endemic disease in European wild boar populations. In view of the high economic impact of the introduction of the virus into domestic pig units, huge efforts are invested in the preventive control of CSF in wild boar populations. Recent European Community guidelines favour oral mass vaccination against CSF in wild boar populations. The guidelines are explicit on the temporal structure of the vaccination protocol, but little is known about the efficacy of different spatial application schemes, or how they relate to outbreak dynamics.
We use a spatially explicit, individual-based wild boar model that represents the ecology of the hosts and the epidemiology of CSF, both on a regional scale and on the level of individual course of infection. We simulate adaptive spatial vaccination schemes accounting for the acute spread of an outbreak while using the temporal vaccination protocol proposed in the Community guidelines.
Vaccination was found to be beneficial in a wide range of scenarios. We show that the short-term proactive component of a vaccination strategy is not only as decisive as short-term continuity, but also that it can outcompete alternative practices while being practically feasible. Furthermore, we show that under certain virus-host conditions vaccination might actually contribute to disease persistence in local populations.
In this study, microsatellite markers, developed for Alligator mississipiensis and Caiman latirostris, were used to assess parentage among individuals from the captive colony of Caiman latirostris at the University of São Paulo, in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. Many of the females in the colony were full siblings, which made maternal identification difficult due to genotypic similarity. Even so, the most likely mother could be identified unambiguously among offspring in most of the clutches studied. Two non-parental females displayed maternal behavior which would have misled managers in assigning maternity based on behavior alone. This set of variable loci demonstrates the utility of parentage testing in captive propagation programs.
crocodilians; caiman; parentage; microsatellite DNA
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a significant problem in some parts of Spain largely because of contacts between cattle and wildlife reservoirs in extensive grazing systems. European Wild boar (Sus scrofa) is one of the species involved in the transmission of the disease to other species. Fast and simple detection methods would be critical for assessing infection prevalence, study the mechanisms of pathogen transmission and monitoring the effects of TB control measures.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies against Mycobacterium bovis in wild boar serum was developed and validated on 185 sera from TB positive and negative wild boar. Based on antigen inoculation of captive animals as well as tuberculosis compatible lesions, culture results and molecular analysis of hunted individuals, animals were allocated into two groups: tuberculosis positive group and tuberculosis negative group. After optimization of the positive to negative ratio using different combinations of serum dilutions and conjugate concentrations, the test yielded a sensitivity of 72.60% and a specificity of 96.43% for the best cut-off.
Although some negative group animals showed an ELISA positive reaction (< 3%), this assay showed a high potential for accurate diagnosis of TB in wild boar, as its large dynamic range supported a good discriminatory power and a satisfactory balance between sensitivity and specificity.
We tested the fitness consequences of introgression of fast-growing domesticated fish into a wild population. Fry from wild and domesticated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) crosses, F1 hybrids, and first- and second-generation backcrosses were released into two natural lakes. Parentage analysis using microsatellite loci facilitated the identification of survivors, so fitness was estimated in nature from the first-feeding stage. Results indicated that under certain conditions, domesticated fish survived at least as well as wild fish within the same environment. Relative growth and survival of the crosses, however, were highly dependent on environment. During the first summer, fastest-growing crosses had the highest survival, but this trend was reversed after one winter and another summer. Although the F1 hybrids showed evidence of outbreeding depression because of the disruption of local adaptation, there was little evidence of outbreeding depression in the backcrosses, and the second-generation backcrosses exhibited a wild-type phenotype. This information is relevant for assessing the multigenerational risk of escaped or released domesticated fish should they successfully interbreed with wild populations and provides information on how to minimize detrimental impacts of a conservation breeding and/or management programme. These data also further understanding of the selection pressures in nature that maintain submaximal rates of growth.
aquaculture; fisheries management; hybridization; phenotypic plasticity; predator prey interactions
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome is a serious swine disease that appeared suddenly in the midwestern United States and central Europe approximately 14 years ago; the disease has now spread worldwide. In North America and Europe, the syndrome is caused by two genotypes of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), an arterivirus whose genomes diverge by approximately 40%. My hypothesis, which explains the origin and evolution of the two distinct PRRSV genotypes, is that a mutant of a closely related arterivirus of mice (lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus) infected wild boars in central Europe. These wild boars functioned as intermediate hosts and spread the virus to North Carolina in imported, infected European wild boars in 1912; the virus then evolved independently on the two continents in the prevalent wild hog populations for approximately 70 years until independently entering the domestic pig population.
porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus; lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus; virus evolution; arteriviruses
Invasive serotype 2 (cps2+) strains of Streptococcus suis cause meningitis in pigs and humans. Four case reports of S. suis meningitis in hunters suggest transmission of S. suis through the butchering of wild boars. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of potentially human-pathogenic S. suis strains in wild boars. S. suis was isolated from 92% of all tested tonsils (n = 200) from wild boars. A total of 244 S. suis isolates were genotyped using PCR assays for the detection of serotype-specific genes, the hemolysin gene sly, and the virulence-associated genes mrp and epf. The prevalence of the cps2+ genotype among strains from wild boars was comparable to that of control strains from domestic pig carriers. Ninety-five percent of the cps2+ wild boar strains were positive for mrp, sly, and epf*, the large variant of epf. Interestingly, epf* was significantly more frequently detected in cps2+ strains from wild boars than in those from domestic pigs; epf* is also typically found in European S. suis isolates from humans, including a meningitis isolate from a German hunter. These results suggest that at least 10% of wild boars in Northwestern Germany carry S. suis strains that are potentially virulent in humans. Additional amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis supported this hypothesis, since homogeneous clustering of the epf* mrp+ sly+ cps2+ strains from wild boars with invasive human and porcine strains was observed.
Artificial selection has caused rapid evolution in domesticated species. The identification of selection footprints across domesticated genomes can contribute to uncover the genetic basis of phenotypic diversity.
Genome wide footprints of pig domestication and selection were identified using massive parallel sequencing of pooled reduced representation libraries (RRL) representing ∼2% of the genome from wild boar and four domestic pig breeds (Large White, Landrace, Duroc and Pietrain) which have been under strong selection for muscle development, growth, behavior and coat color. Using specifically developed statistical methods that account for DNA pooling, low mean sequencing depth, and sequencing errors, we provide genome-wide estimates of nucleotide diversity and genetic differentiation in pig. Widespread signals suggestive of positive and balancing selection were found and the strongest signals were observed in Pietrain, one of the breeds most intensively selected for muscle development. Most signals were population-specific but affected genomic regions which harbored genes for common biological categories including coat color, brain development, muscle development, growth, metabolism, olfaction and immunity. Genetic differentiation in regions harboring genes related to muscle development and growth was higher between breeds than between a given breed and the wild boar.
These results, suggest that although domesticated breeds have experienced similar selective pressures, selection has acted upon different genes. This might reflect the multiple domestication events of European breeds or could be the result of subsequent introgression of Asian alleles. Overall, it was estimated that approximately 7% of the porcine genome has been affected by selection events. This study illustrates that the massive parallel sequencing of genomic pools is a cost-effective approach to identify footprints of selection.
A fine-grained mitochondrial DNA phylogenomic analysis was conducted in domestic pigs and wild boars, revealing that pig domestication in East Asia occurred in the Mekong and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze river.
Previously reported evidence indicates that pigs were independently domesticated in multiple places throughout the world. However, a detailed picture of the origin and dispersal of domestic pigs in East Asia has not yet been reported.
Population phylogenomic analysis was conducted in domestic pigs and wild boars by screening the haplogroup-specific mutation motifs inferred from a phylogenetic tree of pig complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. All domestic pigs are clustered into single clade D (which contains subclades D1, D2, D3, and D4), with wild boars from East Asia being interspersed. Three haplogroups within D1 are dominant in the Mekong region (D1a2 and D1b) and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze River (D1a1a), and may represent independent founders of domestic pigs. None of the domestic pig samples from North East Asia, the Yellow River region, and the upstream region of the Yangtze River share the same haplogroup status with the local wild boars. The limited regional distributions of haplogroups D1 (including its subhaplogroups), D2, D3, and D4 in domestic pigs suggest at least two different in situ domestication events.
The use of fine-grained mtDNA phylogenomic analysis of wild boars and domestic pigs is a powerful tool with which to discern the origin of domestic pigs. Our findings show that pig domestication in East Asia mainly occurred in the Mekong region and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze River.
The feminization of nature by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is a key environmental issue affecting both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. A crucial and as yet unanswered question is whether EDCs have adverse impacts on the sustainability of wildlife populations. There is widespread concern that intersex fish are reproductively compromised, with potential population-level consequences. However, to date, only in vitro sperm quality data are available in support of this hypothesis.
The aim of this study was to examine whether wild endocrine-disrupted fish can compete successfully in a realistic breeding scenario.
In two competitive breeding experiments using wild roach (Rutilus rutilus), we used DNA microsatellites to assign parentage and thus determine reproductive success of the adults.
In both studies, the majority of intersex fish were able to breed, albeit with varying degrees of success. In the first study, where most intersex fish were only mildly feminized, body length was the only factor correlated with reproductive success. In the second study, which included a higher number of more severely intersex fish, reproductive performance was negatively correlated with severity of intersex. The intersex condition reduced reproductive performance by up to 76% for the most feminized individuals in this study, demonstrating a significant adverse effect of intersex on reproductive performance.
Feminization of male fish is likely to be an important determinant of reproductive performance in rivers where there is a high prevalence of moderately to severely feminized males.
DNA microsatellites; ecotoxicology; genetic diversity; intersex; reproductive success; roach; secondary sexual characteristics; size; sperm viability
Female greater horseshoe bats form maternity colonies each summer in order to give birth and raise young. During the mating period, females visit males occupying territorial sites, copulation takes place and sperm are stored until ovulation occurs, normally in April. Using microsatellite markers and a likelihood method of parentage analysis, we studied breeding behaviour and male reproductive success over a five-year period in a population of bats in south-west Britain. Paternity was assigned with 80% confidence to 44% of young born in five successive cohorts. While a small annual skew in male reproductive success was detected, the variance increased over five years due to the repeated success of a few individuals. Mating was polygynous, although some females gave birth to offspring sired by the same male in separate years. Such repeated partnerships probably result from fidelity for either mating sites or individuals or from sperm competition. Females mated with males born both within and outside their own natal colony; however, relatedness between parents was no less than the average recorded for male female pairs. Gene flow between colonies is likely to be primarily mediated by both female and male dispersal during the mating period rather than more permanent movements.
Disease-mediated inbreeding depression is a potential cost of living in groups with kin, but its general magnitude in wild populations is unclear. We examined the relationships between inbreeding, survival and disease for 312 offspring, produced by 35 parental pairs, in a large, open population of cooperatively breeding American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Genetic analyses of parentage, parental relatedness coefficients and pedigree information suggested that 23 per cent of parental dyads were first- or second-order kin. Heterozygosity–heterozygosity correlations suggested that a microsatellite-based index of individual heterozygosity predicted individual genome-wide heterozygosity in this population. After excluding birds that died traumatically, survival probability was lower for relatively inbred birds during the 2–50 months after banding: the hazard rate for the most inbred birds was 170 per cent higher than that for the least inbred birds across the range of inbreeding index values. Birds that died with disease symptoms had higher inbreeding indices than birds with other fates. Our results suggest that avoidance of close inbreeding and the absence of inbreeding depression in large, open populations should not be assumed in taxa with kin-based social systems, and that microsatellite-based indices of individual heterozygosity can be an appropriate tool for examining the inbreeding depression in populations where incest and close inbreeding occur.
American crow; Corvus brachyrhynchos; disease; inbreeding; inbreeding depression; cooperative breeders
Classical Swine Fever (CSFV) is one of the most important viral infectious diseases affecting wild boars and domestic pigs. The etiological agent of the disease is the CSF virus, a single stranded RNA virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae.
All preventive measures in domestic pigs have been focused in interrupting the chain of infection and in avoiding the spread of CSFV within wild boars as well as interrupting transmission from wild boars to domestic pigs. The use of plant based vaccine against CSFV would be advantageous as plant organs can be distributed without the need of particular treatments such as refrigeration and therefore large areas, populated by wild animals, could be easily covered.
We report the in planta production of peptides of the classical swine fever (CSF) E2 glycoprotein fused to the coat protein of potato virus X. RT-PCR studies demonstrated that the peptide encoding sequences are correctly retained in the PVX construct after three sequential passage in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Sequence analysis of RT-PCR products confirmed that the epitope coding sequences are replicated with high fidelity during PVX infection. Partially purified virions were able to induce an immune response in rabbits.
Previous reports have demonstrated that E2 synthetic peptides can efficiently induce an immunoprotective response in immunogenized animals. In this work we have showed that E2 peptides can be expressed in planta by using a modified PVX vector. These results are particularly promising for designing strategies for disease containment in areas inhabited by wild boars.