Decandia, Luca (2015) Studio della variabilità genetica nel Grifone Sardo (Gyps fulvus) attraverso l’analisi del DNA mitocondriale. Doctoral Thesis.
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In Italy, the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) lives and nests exclusively in Sardinia. During the last century it has suffered the consequences of a drastic decline and currently there are only thirty territorial couples. It is therefore included in the category of Critically Endangered (CR) species.
The aim of this work was to increase the understanding of genetic and evolutionary history of the Sardinian Griffon Vulture, useful to the preservation of this species. The first step was to obtain the complete sequence of Gyps fulvus mtDNA, so far known only for the 25%. Phylogenetic results from D-loop sequences analysis indicated the presence of a unique cluster, split into two groups, characterized by a high statistical support. Additional analysis were performed to validate the structure of the obtained tree, in order to identify the number and the diversity of haplotypes (Hap), pairwise differences and, by using Bayesian model-based clustering, a possible genetic structure.
Our results indicate the presence of three different Hap within the sampled Gyps fulvus which are probably typical of the Mediterranean area. Phylogenetic analysis were also performed according to the molecular clock theory and divergence times were estimated by using the ND2 aminoacid sequences. The extant genetic diversity within Gyps resulted from a rapid adaptive radiation at about 1.62 million years ago (MYA), whereas the split G. fulvus/G. tenuirostris-G. indicus-G. coprotheres was dated at 0.54 MYA.
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