Using microsatellites to obtain genetic structure data for Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio): a pilot study

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) Science Article 1


The declining Western European population of the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is hypothesised to be a part of the same metapopulation as the Dutch population, at the edge of the contracting western range. Due to habitat fragmentation the Dutch population is mainly situated in the Bargerveen reserve (40n60 pairs) with a few local populations of 1n5 pairs present in other parts of The Netherlands. Previous studies showed that all locations are complemented by a high number of immigrants. The origin of the immigrants and the level of genetic variation in this population, which acts as a sink, can be investigated by molecular markers. In this pilot study we investigated the possibility of using 4 microsatellite markers to study the genetic structure of the Red-backed Shrike populations in Bargerveen and in the north of Denmark, on the basis of 10 individuals per population. All loci were variable, and both populations were comparable in mean number of alleles and distinct private alleles. In both populations, the observed heterozygosity was relatively low, and the inbreeding coefficient high. In the future, this project should be continued at a larger scale to obtain data for the genetic structure of the Western European Red-backed Shrike across a larger part of its range. The analysis needs to be enlarged with more loci and more independent individuals per population.

Annelies Z. Pustjens, Janny L. Peters, Marten Geertsma, Tom Gerats and Hans Esselink, BIOLOGICAL LETT. 2004, 41(2): 95n101

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