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Tserenbataa, T. 2003. Population genetic study of argali sheep (Ovis ammon) in Mongolia: Implications for conservation. M.S. Thesis. Department of Biology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado.

Abstract - The subspecific designation of argali sheep (Ovis ammon) in Mongolia has been contentious because morphological differences can be due to genetic or environmental factors. A detailed analysis of genetic structure and gene flow study in argali sheep populations was conducted using the ND5 gene (556 bp) of mtDNA. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed no population subdivision between regions of Altai vs. Gobi/Khangai. Significant components of variance occurred within populations (75.0%) rather than among populations (0.4%) or regions (24.6%). Gene flow appears to have been frequent (M, number of individuals per generation = 56.3) between populations of argali inhabiting the Khangai Mountains and Gobi Desert. However, genetic distance and neighbor joining networks showed substantial genetic difference between two putative subspecies. Our ND5 data did not support two lineages (Altai and Gobi/Khangai) because phylogenetic analysis using the mitochondrial sequence haplotypes showed a lack of reciprocal monophyly. However, some genetic differentiation revealed at the mtDNA level support the recognition of two Management Units of argali sheep (Altai and Gobi/ Khangai) in Mongolia. The most divergent haplotype occurred in the Marco Polo argali (O. a. polii) from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, and it clustered with urial sheep clade (O. orientalis) in a parsimony tree. These results support that argali and urial sheep are a sister taxa.

Publisher - University of Denver

Reprints - Contact University of Denver Penrose Library


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