University of Oulu

Honka, J., Baini, S., Searle, J. B., Kvist, L., & Aspi, J. (2022). Genetic assessment reveals inbreeding, possible hybridization, and low levels of genetic structure in a declining goose population. Ecology and Evolution, 12, e8547.

Genetic assessment reveals inbreeding, possible hybridization, and low levels of genetic structure in a declining goose population

Saved in:
Author: Honka, Johanna1; Baini, Serena2; Searle, Jeremy B.3;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Biology, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-29


The population numbers of taiga bean goose (Anser fabalis fabalis) have halved during recent decades. Since this subspecies is hunted throughout most of its range, the decline is of management concern. Knowledge of the genetic population structure and diversity is important for guiding management and conservation efforts. Genetically unique subpopulations might be hunted to extinction if not managed separately, and any inbreeding depression or lack of genetic diversity may affect the ability to adapt to changing environments and increase extinction risk. We used microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers to study the genetic population structure and diversity among taiga bean geese breeding within the Central flyway management unit using non-invasively collected feathers. We found some genetic structuring with the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA between four geographic regions (ɸST = 0.11–0.20) but none with the nuclear microsatellite markers (all pairwise FST-values = 0.002–0.005). These results could be explained by female natal philopatry and male-biased dispersal, which completely homogenizes the nuclear genome. Therefore, the population could be managed as a single unit. Genetic diversity was still at a moderate level (average HE = 0.69) and there were no signs of past population size reductions, although significantly positive inbreeding coefficients in all sampling sites (FIS = 0.05–0.10) and high relatedness values (r = 0.60–0.86) between some individuals could indicate inbreeding. In addition, there was evidence of either incomplete lineage sorting or introgression from the pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus). The current population is not under threat by genetic impoverishment but monitoring in the future is desirable.

see all

Series: Ecology and evolution
ISSN: 2045-7758
ISSN-E: 2045-7758
ISSN-L: 2045-7758
Volume: 12
Issue: 1
Article number: e8547
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8547
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Suomen Kulttuurirahasto. Grant Number: 00200356. Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Rahasto. Grant Number: 60182022.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.