Low mitochondrial DNA diversity in the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle ( Hieraaetus fasciatus ) from SW Europe (Iberia) and NW Africa

Bonellis Eagle (Aquila fasciata) Science Article 2


This study is an initial survey of the genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) in SW Europe (Iberia) and NW Africa, two locations where the species has undergone a severe decrease in numbers during the last decades. It is also the first study in which the mitochondrial control region (CR) has been used to study the genetic diversity and population structure of this species. Samples were obtained from 72 individuals from Spain, Portugal and Morocco, and a 253-bp fragment of the mitochondrial control region was amplified and sequenced. Only three polymorphisms were present, indicating low nucleotide and haplotype diversity. No evidence of genetic structure was found. Several hypotheses may explain these results, including a possible greater genetic diversity in other regions of the mitochondrial genome or the existence of a presumed ancient bottleneck (last glaciation), possibly followed by a human-induced more recent one (twentieth century).

Luis Cadahia, Juan J. Negro et al., J Ornithol (2007) 148:99-104

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