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Genetic variability among endangered Chinese giant salamanders, Andrias davidianus

Authors

  • Robert W. Murphy,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Biodiversity of Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C6,
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  • Jinzhong Fu,

    1. Centre for Biodiversity of Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C6,
    2. Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1,
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  • Darlene E. Upton,

    1. Centre for Biodiversity of Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C6,
    2. Canadian Heritage Parks Agency, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Box 28, Honey Harbour, Ontario, Canada P0E 1E0,
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  • Thales De Lema,

    1. Museu de Ciências e Technologia e Instituto de Biociências, Pontifica Universidade Católica de Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 1429, 90619–900 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil,
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  • Er-Mi Zhao

    1. Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China 610041
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Robert W. Murphy. Fax: (416) 586 5553; E-mail: drbob@rom.on.ca

Abstract

The endangered Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is endemic to mainland China. Genetic divergence among six populations of the species was investigated by means of isozyme electrophoresis and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. Forty allozyme loci were resolved for all populations; the amount of genetic divergence among populations was comparable to that in other amphibians. mtDNA sequences showed a similar level of divergence. The population from Huangshan is distinct from other populations, indicating the existence of localized divergence. Both allozyme and mtDNA data failed to associate the populations into a pattern corresponding to the three Chinese river systems, which may be the consequence of human relocation. Conservation policies should emphasize the protection of localized populations and cessation of human-facilitated introductions. Future studies should focus on investigating the divergence among localized populations from isolated mountain regions, particularly using more fine-grained techniques such as microsatellite DNA.

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