Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland

Denise B. O'Meara, Ceiridwen J. Edwards, D. Paddy Sleeman, Tom F. Cross, Mark J. Statham, Jan R. McDowell, Eileen Dillane, Jamie P. Coughlan, David O'Leary, Catherine O'Reilly, Daniel G. Bradley, Jens Carlsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined the contemporary genetic composition of the Eurasian badger, Meles meles, in Ireland, Britain and Western Europe, using six nuclear microsatellite loci and a 215-bp fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region. Significant population structure was evident within Europe (global multilocus microsatellite FST=0.205, P<0.001; global mitochondrial control region ΦST=0.399, P<0.001). Microsatellite-based cluster analyses detected one population in Ireland, whereas badgers from Britain could be subdivided into several populations. Excluding the island populations of Ireland and Britain, badgers from Western Europe showed further structuring, with evidence of discrete Scandinavian, Central European, and Spanish populations. Mitochondrial DNA cluster analysis grouped the Irish population with Scandinavia and Spain, whereas the majority of British haplotypes grouped with those from Central Europe. The findings of the present study suggest that British and Irish badger populations colonized from different refugial areas, or that there were different waves of colonization from the source population. There are indications for the presence of an Atlantic fringe element, which has been seen in other Irish species. We discuss the results in light of the controversy about natural versus human-mediated introductions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-909
Number of pages17
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume106
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Meles
Mustelidae
Meles meles
Carnivora
Ireland
mitochondrial DNA
genetic structure
colonization
history
badgers
population structure
cluster analysis
United Kingdom
microsatellite repeats
Western European region
Scandinavia
Europe
Western Europe
Central European region
haplotypes

Cite this

O'Meara, Denise B. ; Edwards, Ceiridwen J. ; Sleeman, D. Paddy ; Cross, Tom F. ; Statham, Mark J. ; McDowell, Jan R. ; Dillane, Eileen ; Coughlan, Jamie P. ; O'Leary, David ; O'Reilly, Catherine ; Bradley, Daniel G. ; Carlsson, Jens. / Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland. In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2012 ; Vol. 106, No. 4. pp. 893-909.
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O'Meara, DB, Edwards, CJ, Sleeman, DP, Cross, TF, Statham, MJ, McDowell, JR, Dillane, E, Coughlan, JP, O'Leary, D, O'Reilly, C, Bradley, DG & Carlsson, J 2012, 'Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland', Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 106, no. 4, pp. 893-909. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2012.01927.x

Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland. / O'Meara, Denise B.; Edwards, Ceiridwen J.; Sleeman, D. Paddy; Cross, Tom F.; Statham, Mark J.; McDowell, Jan R.; Dillane, Eileen; Coughlan, Jamie P.; O'Leary, David; O'Reilly, Catherine; Bradley, Daniel G.; Carlsson, Jens.

In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol. 106, No. 4, 01.08.2012, p. 893-909.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland

AU - O'Meara, Denise B.

AU - Edwards, Ceiridwen J.

AU - Sleeman, D. Paddy

AU - Cross, Tom F.

AU - Statham, Mark J.

AU - McDowell, Jan R.

AU - Dillane, Eileen

AU - Coughlan, Jamie P.

AU - O'Leary, David

AU - O'Reilly, Catherine

AU - Bradley, Daniel G.

AU - Carlsson, Jens

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AB - The present study examined the contemporary genetic composition of the Eurasian badger, Meles meles, in Ireland, Britain and Western Europe, using six nuclear microsatellite loci and a 215-bp fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region. Significant population structure was evident within Europe (global multilocus microsatellite FST=0.205, P<0.001; global mitochondrial control region ΦST=0.399, P<0.001). Microsatellite-based cluster analyses detected one population in Ireland, whereas badgers from Britain could be subdivided into several populations. Excluding the island populations of Ireland and Britain, badgers from Western Europe showed further structuring, with evidence of discrete Scandinavian, Central European, and Spanish populations. Mitochondrial DNA cluster analysis grouped the Irish population with Scandinavia and Spain, whereas the majority of British haplotypes grouped with those from Central Europe. The findings of the present study suggest that British and Irish badger populations colonized from different refugial areas, or that there were different waves of colonization from the source population. There are indications for the presence of an Atlantic fringe element, which has been seen in other Irish species. We discuss the results in light of the controversy about natural versus human-mediated introductions.

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