DNA fingerprinting in Speke's gazelle: a test for genetic distinctness, and the correlation between relatedness and similarity


  • The research presented in this paper is part of an ongoing collaboration between the St. Louis Zoo and Washington University on the genetic management of the North American captive population of Speke's gazelle (Gazella spekei). The work was performed in the laboratory of Alan Templeton. Marguerite Butler is a graduate student in Evolution and Population Biology at Washington University at St. Louis.

Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. Fax 1 314 935 4432.


In the absence of pedigree information, the determination of genetic distinctness of populations can only be made by genetic methods. Using DNA fingerprinting on the North American captive herd of Speke's gazelle Gazella spekei, we were able to address two hypotheses. First, two new individuals were found to have come from a genetically distinct population (P= 0.008, permutation test), and represent potential new founders to be added to the population. Secondly, genetic similarity was not significantly correlated with relatedness under extreme inbreeding and very close relationship (coefficient of relationship range 0.304-0.717).