CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Wildlife Research   
Wildlife Research
Journal Banner
  Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 36(4)

Inbreeding and testicular abnormalities in a bottlenecked population of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Romane Cristescu A H, Valma Cahill B, William B. Sherwin A, Kathrine Handasyde C, Kris Carlyon A, Desley Whisson D, Catherine A. Herbert A E, Britt Louise J. Carlsson F, Alan N. Wilton F G, Des W. Cooper A

A School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia.
B Creek Street, Oakey, Qld 4401, Australia.
C Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.
D School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia.
E Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
F School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia.
G Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia.
H Corresponding author. Email: romane@student.unsw.edu.au
PDF (247 KB) $25
 Export Citation


Habitat destruction and fragmentation, interactions with introduced species or the relocation of animals to form new populations for conservation purposes may result in a multiplication of population bottlenecks. Examples are the translocations of koalas to French Island and its derivative Kangaroo Island population, with both populations established as insurance policies against koala extinction. In terms of population size, these conservation programs were success stories. However, the genetic story could be different. We conducted a genetic investigation of French and Kangaroo Island koalas by using 15 microsatellite markers, 11 of which are described here for the first time. The results confirm very low genetic diversity. French Island koalas have 3.8 alleles per locus and Kangaroo Island koalas 2.4. The present study found a 19% incidence of testicular abnormality in Kangaroo Island animals. Internal relatedness, an individual inbreeding coefficient, was not significantly different in koalas with testicular abnormalities from that in other males, suggesting the condition is not related to recent inbreeding. It could instead result from an unfortunate selection of founder individuals carrying alleles for testicular abnormalities, followed by a subsequent increase in these alleles’ frequencies through genetic drift and small population-related inefficiency of selection. Given the low diversity and possible high prevalence of deleterious alleles, the genetic viability of the population remains uncertain, despite its exponential growth so far. This stands as a warning to other introductions for conservation reasons.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015