Isozyme variation in roe deer in relation to their population history in Britain



The level of genetic variation in 245 roe deer (Cupreolus cupreolus L.), taken from 15 populations across Britain, was estimated by investigating electrophoretic polymorphism at 15 enzyme loci. The proportion of polymorphic loci and the average heterozygosity of roe deer in Britain were estimated as 13.3% and 3.2%, respectively. Allele frequencies at one locus suggested the existence of an east-west cline of an allelic variant in southern Britain which may have originated from an introduction of roe from continental Europe in the last century. These results are discussed in relation to the theoretical expectations for this species and the documented historical background of roe deer inBritain.