Utility of several microsatellite markers for the genetic characterisation of three ex situ populations of threatened caprine taxa (Capra aegagrus, C. cylindricornis and C. falconeri)
Abstract. Caprines belong to the most endangered group of mammals and artiodactyls suffering from many negative human impacts. Fortunately, many of them are protected and managed by national and international legislation and in situ and ex situ conservation actions. Although many microsatellite markers have been developed for wild and domestic caprines, they remain uninvestigated in respect of their utility for some taxa. We examined the utility of the International Society for Animal Genetics microsatellite set for genetic characterisations of three wild and one domestic Capra species from captive or semi-captive ex situ populations in Europe. Our data suggest the utility of this microsatellite set for detecting shared and species-specific alleles, characterising the genetic variability, and determining phylogenetic relationships and intraspecific structures in investigated taxa. We detected a depleted genetic variability in Capra falconeri and Capra cylindricornis in European ex situ populations; unrelated individuals are therefore needed for improving genetic variability parameters, as they are for the extralimital population of Capra aegagrus in the Vřísek game reserve (Czech Republic), for which we identified no genetic introgression from the domestic goat and great dissimilarity with some analysed individuals from European zoos. Current results here indicate some difficulties with the historical evidence, for example with respect to the origin and purity of particular individuals under breeding programmes.