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Population genomics and structure of the critically endangered Mariana Crow (Corvus kubaryi)

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Author(s)

Nandadevi Cortes-Rodriguez, Michael G. Campana, Lainie Berry, Sarah Faegre, Scott R. Derrickson, Renne Robinette Ha, Rebecca B. Dickow, Christian Rutz, Robert C. Fleischer

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Abstract

The Mariana Crow, or Åga (Corvus kubaryi), is a critically endangered species (IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature), endemic to the islands of Guam and Rota in the Mariana Archipelago. It is locally extinct on Guam, and numbers have declined dramatically on Rota to a historical low of less than 55 breeding pairs throughout the island in 2013. Because of its extirpation on Guam and population decline on Rota, it is of critical importance to assess the genetic variation among individuals to assist ongoing recovery efforts. We conducted a population genomics analysis comparing the Guam and Rota populations and studied the genetic structure of Rota individuals population. We used blood samples from five birds from Guam and 78 birds from Rota. We identified 145,552 candidate single nucleotide variants (SNVs) from a genome sequence of an individual from Rota and selected a subset of these to develop an oligonucleotide in-solution capture assay. The Guam and Rota populations were genetically differentiated from each other. Crow populations sampled broadly across their range on Rota showed significant genetic structuring – a surprising result given the small size of this island and the good flight capabilities of the species. Knowledge of its genetic structure will help improve management policies strategies to help with its recovery.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number187
Number of pages17
JournalGenes
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • Mariana Crow, Single nucleotide variants, Population genomics, Conservation, Inbreeding, Population decline

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