Geographic genetic structure of alectoris chukar in Türkiye: Post-LGM-induced hybridization and human-mediated contaminations
MetadataShow full item record
Türkiye is considered an important evolutionary area for Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), since it is both a potential ancestral area and a diversification center for the species. Using 2 mitochondrial (Cty-b and D-loop) and 13 polymorphic microsatellite markers, we investigated the geographic genetic structure of A. chukar populations to determine how past climatic fluctuations and human activities have shaped the gene pool of this species in Türkiye. Our results indicate, firstly, that only A. chukar of the genus Alectoris is present in Türkiye (Anatolia and Thrace), with no natural or artificial gene flow from congenerics. Secondly, the geographic genetic structure of the species in Türkiye has been shaped by topographic heterogeneity, Pleistocene climatic fluctuations, and artificial transport by humans. Third, there appears to be three genetic clusters: Thracian, Eastern, and Western. Fourth, the post-LGM demographic expansion of the Eastern and Western populations has formed a hybrid zone in Central Anatolia (~8 kyBP). Fifth, the rate of China clade-B contamination in Türkiye is about 8% in mtDNA and about 12% in nuDNA, with the Southeastern Anatolian population having the highest contamination. Sixth, the Thracian population was the most genetically distinct, with the lowest genetic diversity and highest level of inbreeding and no China clad-B contamination. These results can contribute to the conservation regarding A. chukar populations, especially the Thracian population.