A comparison of pedigree, genetic and genomic estimates of relatedness for informing pairing decisions in two critically endangered birds: Implications for conservation breeding programmes worldwide (2020)
Type of ContentJournal Article
- Science: Journal Articles 
Conservation management strategies for many highly threatened species include conservation breeding to prevent extinction and enhance recovery. Pairing decisions for these conservation breeding programmes can be informed by pedigree data to minimize relatedness between individuals in an effort to avoid inbreeding, maximize diversity and maintain evolutionary potential. However, conservation breeding programmes struggle to use this approach when pedigrees are shallow or incomplete. While genetic data (i.e., microsatellites) can be used to estimate relatedness to inform pairing decisions, emerging evidence indicates this approach may lack precision in genetically depauperate species, and more effective estimates will likely be obtained from genomic data (i.e., thousands of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs). Here, we compare relatedness estimates and subsequent pairing decisions using pedigrees, microsatellites and SNPs from whole-genome resequencing approaches in two critically endangered birds endemic to New Zealand: kakī/ black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) and kākāriki karaka/orange-fronted parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi). Our findings indicate that SNPs provide more precise estimates of relatedness than microsatellites when assessing empirical parent–offspring and full sibling relationships. Further, our results show that relatedness estimates and subsequent pairing recommendations using PMx are most similar between pedigree and SNP-based approaches. These combined results indicate that in lieu of robust pedigrees, SNPs are an effective tool for informing pairing decisions, which has important implications for many poorly pedigreed conservation breeding programmes worldwide.
CitationGalla SJ, Moraga R, Brown L, Cleland S, Hoeppner MP, Maloney RF, Richardson A, Slater L, Santure AW, Steeves TE A comparison of pedigree, genetic and genomic estimates of relatedness for informing pairing decisions in two critically endangered birds: Implications for conservation breeding programmes worldwide. Evolutionary Applications.
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Keywordsconservation breeding; conservation genetics; conservation genomics; pairing recommendations; PMx; relatedness
ANZSRC Fields of Research41 - Environmental sciences::4104 - Environmental management::410401 - Conservation and biodiversity
06 - Biological Sciences::0604 - Genetics::060411 - Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics
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