Biodiversity is increasingly declining as a result of direct human impact and structural alteration of ecosystems resulting from changes in human life styles. Itasenpara bittering (Acheilognathus longipinnis), which has been maintained in floodplain and paddy fields, is a threatened cyprinid fish endemic to central Japan. To aid in the preservation of this species, information on genetic diversity and demographic variables in wild and captive populations was obtained using microsatellite DNA analysis. Temporal changes in genetic diversity and effective population size (N (e)) tended to be relatively stable in the wild Moo River population, although lower values were detected in the wild Busshouji River population, suggesting an extremely high risk of extinction in the latter. Captive populations derived from the Busshouji River population demonstrated significant genetic divergence even among intrapopulational cohorts, suggesting the influence of genetic drift caused by geographic isolation and small population size. Active maintenance of genetic diversity in captive population is a necessary part of conservation programs, as are continuous addition of wild individuals and replacement of individuals among captive populations. In addition, increasing or maintaining suitable floodplain areas and artificial habitats such as paddy fields might contribute to the conservation of genetic diversity in the Itasenpara bittering.
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