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Keywords:

  • Alectoris barbara;
  • Alectoris rufa;
  • genetic introgression;
  • hybrid partridges;
  • hybridization;
  • RAPD sequencing

Abstract

In the Alectoris partridges (Phasianidae), hybridization occurs occasionally as a result of the natural breakdown of isolating mechanisms but more frequently as a result of human activity. No genetic record of hybridization is known for the barbary partridge (A. barbara). This species is distributed mostly in North Africa and, in Europe, on the island of Sardinia (Italy) and on Gibraltar. The risk of hybridization between barbary and red-legged partridge (A. rufa: Iberian Peninsula, France, Italy) is high in Sardinia and in Spain. We developed two random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers to detect A. barbara × A. rufa hybrid partridges. We tested them on 125 experimental hybrids, sequenced the relative species-specific bands and found that the bands and their corresponding sequences were reliably transmitted through a number of generations (F1, F2, F3, BC1, BC2). Our markers represent a highly valuable tool for the preservation of the A. barbara genome from the pressing threat of A. rufa pollution.