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Keywords:

  • allelic diversity;
  • genetic diversity;
  • genetic management;
  • pedigree analysis

Abstract

The concepts of “founder equivalent” and “founder genome equivalent” are introduced to facilitate analysis of the founding stocks of captive or other populations for which pedigrees are available. The founder equivalents of a population are the number of equally contributing founders that would be expected to produce the same genetic diversity as in the population under study. Unequal genetic contributions by founders decrease the founder equivalents, portend greater inbreeding in future generations than would be necessary, and reflect a greater loss of the genetic diversity initially present in the founders. The number of founder genome equivalents of a population is that number of equally contributing founders with no random loss of founder alleles in descendants that would be expected to produce the same genetic diversity as in the population under study. The number of founder genome equivalents is approximately that number of wild-caught animals that would be needed to obtain the same amount of genetic diversity as is in the descendant captive population. Founder equivalents and founder genome equivalents allow comparison of the genetic merits of adding new wild-caught stock vs. further equalizing founder representations in a captive population.