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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


RUIZ-GARCIA, MANUEL; PACHECO, LUIS F  and  ALVAREZ, DIANA. Genetic characterization of the Bolivian Andean puma (Puma concolor) at the Sajama National Park (SNP) and relationships with other north-western South American puma populations. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2009, vol.82, n.1, pp.97-117. ISSN 0716-078X.

Twenty-five Andean Bolivian fecal samples were obtained for extracting DNA. Five different Andean Bolivian pumas were detected and together with three skins of animals hunted completed eight Andean Bolivian pumas studied here. Additionally, 45 DNA samples from wild pumas from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and western Brazilian Amazon were analyzed by means of hair with roots, little pieces of skins, muscle tissues and teeth. All these 53 puma DNA were genotypified for seven microsatellites (Fca 08, 24, 43, 45, 96, 126 and 391). The levels of gene diversity were very high in both sample groups (H = 0.942 and 0.845, respectively), with values considerably higher than those found in the North American pumas. Diverse population assignment analyses showed that the Bolivian Andean pumas did not form a different significant cluster from the other puma group studied. Only Fca 96 showed significant heterogeneity between both groups. Nevertheless, globally, this heterogeneity was very small (FST, GST, RST). On the contrary, the gene flow estimates between both groups were very elevated for all the procedures performed. The estimation of the parameter θ (= 4Neμ), by means of the maximum likelihood procedure of Nielsen (1997), showed that the Bolivian sample is a similar extension of the puma population of the other Latin American countries analyzed. Therefore, this study yielded strong results in favor of an unique gene pool of pumas in north western South America, in contrast with the traditional morphology and morphometric classifications which had identified a considerable number of puma subspecies in this region of Latin America.

Keywords : puma; Puma concolor; DNA microsatellites; population genetics; Bolivia.

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