Bayesian analysis of hybridization and introgression between the endangered european mink (Mustela lutreola) and the polecat (Mustela putorius)

Authors

  • M. T. CABRIA,

    1. Departamento de Zoología y B.C.A., Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad del País Vasco UPV-EHU, Paseo de las Universidades, 7, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    2. Laboratoire de Génétique des Microorganismes, Institut de Botanique (Bat.22), Université de Liège (Sart Tilman), Boulevard du Rectorat, 27, B4000 Liège, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. R. MICHAUX,

    1. Laboratoire de Génétique des Microorganismes, Institut de Botanique (Bat.22), Université de Liège (Sart Tilman), Boulevard du Rectorat, 27, B4000 Liège, Belgium
    2. Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations, CBGP, Campus international de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. J. GÓMEZ-MOLINER,

    1. Departamento de Zoología y B.C.A., Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad del País Vasco UPV-EHU, Paseo de las Universidades, 7, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • D. SKUMATOV,

    1. Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming, Engels Street, 79, Kirov, Russia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. MARAN,

    1. Species Conservation Lab, Tallinn Zoological Gardens, Paldiski Road 145, Tallinn 13522, Estonia
    2. Institute of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Tallinn University, Narva Road 25, Tallinn 10120, Estonia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • P. FOURNIER,

    1. Groupe de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Gestion de l’Environnement (GREGE), Route de Préchac, 33730 Villandraut, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. LÓPEZ de LUZURIAGA,

    1. Avenida de Gasteiz, no. 91-70B, 01009 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • R. ZARDOYA

    1. Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Maria Teresa Cabria, Fax: (+34) 945013014; (+32) 43663847; E-mail: maitec79@yahoo.es

Abstract

Human-mediated global change will probably increase the rates of natural hybridization and genetic introgression between closely related species, and this will have major implications for conservation of the taxa involved. In this study, we analyse both mitochondrial and nuclear data to characterize ongoing hybridization and genetic introgression between two sympatric sister species of mustelids, the endangered European mink (Mustela lutreola) and the more abundant polecat (M. putorius). A total of 317 European mink, 114 polecats and 15 putative hybrid individuals were collected from different localities in Europe and genotyped with 13 microsatellite nuclear markers. Recently developed Bayesian methods for assigning individuals to populations and identifying admixture proportions were applied to the genetic data. To identify the direction of hybridization, we additionally sequenced mtDNA and Y chromosomes from 78 individuals and 29 males respectively. We found that both hybridization and genetic introgression occurred at low levels (3% and 0.9% respectively) and indicated that hybridization is asymmetric, as only pure polecat males mate with pure European mink females. Furthermore, backcrossing and genetic introgression was detected only from female first-generation (F1) hybrids of European mink to polecats. This latter result implies that Haldane’s rule may apply. Our results suggest that hybridization and genetic introgression between the two species should be considered a rather uncommon event. However, the current low densities of European mink might be changing this trend.

Ancillary