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Hybridization between pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus and shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus

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This study found that introgressive hybridization of the pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus with the common shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus has probably occurred across the range of S. albus. Bayesian clustering found evidence of hybridization in all management units of S. albus. Some individuals were intermediate at both genetic and morphological characters, and some had discordant results. The results support introgressive hybridization throughout much of the range of S. albus, yet individuals consistent with being pure members of each species were detected in all management units. Simulations demonstrated that it would be very difficult to distinguish introgressed individuals from pure specimens after multiple generations of backcrossing with these microsatellite markers. Using hybrid or backcross fish as broodstock could artificially accelerate the loss of unique genetic variation in S. albus. Additional microsatellite loci or additional genetic markers, along with morphological data may be required to ensure that hybrid or backcross fish are not used. Introgressive hybridization requires at least two generations and generation lengths of S. albus are long, perhaps as long as 30 years. The proportion of individuals consistent with introgressive hybrid origins indicates that hybridization between S. albus and S. platorynchus probably has occurred for several generations and is not a recent phenomenon.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: 2011-12-01

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