Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Molecular Ecology

Volume: 19 , Pages: 2408-2417.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04653.x

Language: English

Full reference: Ruokonen, M., Aarvak, T., Chesser, R.K., Lundqvist, A.-C. & Merilä, J. 2010. Temporal increase in mtDNA diversity in a declining population. Molecular Ecology 19: 2408-2417. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04653.x

Keywords: genetics


In small and declining populations levels of genetic variability are expected to be reduced due to effects of inbreeding and random genetic drift. As a result, both individual fitness and populations’ adaptability can be compromised, and the probability of extinction increased. Therefore, maintenance of genetic variability is a crucial goal in conservation biology. Here we show that although the level of genetic variability in mtDNA of the endangered Fennoscandian lesser white-fronted goose Anser erythropus population is currently lower than in the neigbouring populations, it has increased six-fold during the past 140 years despite the precipitously declining population. The explanation for increased genetic diversity in Fennoscandia appears to be recent spontaneous increase in male immigration rate equalling 0.56 per generation. This inference is supported by data on nuclear microsatellite markers, the latter of which show that the current and the historical Fennoscandian populations are significantly differentiated (FST = 0.046, P = 0) due to changes in allele frequencies. The effect of male-mediated gene flow is potentially dichotomous. On the one hand it may rescue the Fennoscandian lesser white-fronted goose from loss of genetic variability, but on the other hand, it eradicates the original genetic characteristics of this population.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Molecular phylogenetics and evolution

Volume: 23 , Pages: 339-356.

DOI: 10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00019-2

Language: English

Full reference: Donne-Goussé, C., Laudet, V. & Hänni, C. 2002. A molecular phylogeny of anseriformes based on mitochondrial DNA analysis. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 23: 339-356. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00019-2

Keywords: anseriformes, mtDNA, control region, waterfowl


To study the phylogenetic relationships among Anseriformes, sequences for the complete mitochondrial control region (CR) were determined from 45 waterfowl representing 24 genera, i.e., half of the existing genera. To confirm the results based on CR analysis we also analyzed representative species based on two mitochondrial protein-coding genes, cytochrome b (cytb) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2). These data allowed us to construct a robust phylogeny of the Anseriformes and to compare it with existing phylogenies based on morphological or molecular data. Chauna and Dendrocygna were identified as early offshoots of the Anseriformes. All the remaining taxa fell into two clades that correspond to the two subfamilies Anatinae and Anserinae. Within Anserinae Branta and Anser cluster together, whereas Coscoroba, Cygnus, and Cereopsis form a relatively weak clade with Cygnus diverging first. Five clades are clearly recognizable among Anatinae: (i) the Anatini with Anas and Lophonetta; (ii) the Aythyini with Aythya and Netta; (iii) the Cairinini with Cairina and Aix; (iv) the Mergini with Mergus, Bucephala, Melanitta, Callonetta, Somateria, and Clangula, and (v) the Tadornini with Tadorna, Chloephaga, and Alopochen. The Tadornini diverged early on from the Anatinae; then the Mergini and a large group that comprises the Anatini, Aythyini, Cairinini, and two isolated genera, Chenonetta and Marmaronetta, diverged. The phylogeny obtained with the control region appears more robust than the one obtained with mitochondrial protein-coding genes such as ND2 and cytb. This suggests that the CR is a powerful tool for bird phylogeny, not only at a small scale (i.e., relationships between species) but also at the family level. Whereas morphological analysis effectively resolved the split between Anatinae and Anserinae and the existence of some of the clades, the precise composition of the clades are different when morphological and molecular data are compared

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Volume: 13 , Pages: 532-540.

DOI: DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2000.00184.x

Language: English


Full reference: Ruokonen, M., Kvist, L. & Lumme, J. 2000. Close relatedness between mitochondrial DNA from seven Anser goose species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 13: 532-540. https://www.dx.doi.org/DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2000.00184.x

Keywords: control region, mtDNA, nuclear copy, phylogeny, Pleistocene


The phylogenetic relationships of seven goose species and two of the subspecies representing the genus Anser were studied by approximately 1180 bp of mitochondrial DNA tRNAglu, control region and tRNAphe sequences. Despite obvious morphological and behavioural affinities among the species, their evolutionary relationships have not been studied previously. The small amount of genetic differentiation observed in the mitochondrial DNA indicates an extremely close evolutionary relationship between the Anser species. The sequence divergences between the species (0.9±5.5%) are among the lowest reported for avian species with speciation events of Anser geese dating to late Pliocene and Pleistocene. The species grouped into four mtDNA lineages: (1) snow and Ross' goose, (2) greylag goose, (3) white-fronted goose, and (4) bean, pink-footed and lesser white-fronted goose. The phylogenetic relationships of the most closely related species, bean, pink-footed and lesser white-fronted goose, indicate a period of rapid cladogenesis. The poor agreement between morphological relationships and the phylogenetic relationships indicated by mtDNA sequences implies that either ancestral polymorphism and lineage sorting, hybridization and introgression or convergent evolution has been involved.

Number of results: 3