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Home » Archive » 2022

TDK conference 2022

Assessment of the genetic diversity of Hungarian roe deer populations for forensic purposes using the mitochondrial control region
Petes Valentina - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisors: Dr. Petra Zenke, Orsolya Zorkóczy

Abstract:

The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is a widespread and abundant species in Hungary, which is frequently the victim of poaching and trophy abuse, as well as they may cause traffic accidents, which can often be proven only by genetic methods.

As recently only limited genetic information is available on roe deer in our country, our aim was to conduct a widespread mapping using the control region of the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome). In addition, the genetic relationship of the domestic deer population with populations in other European countries was investigated, taking into consideration the introgression of its relative species, the Siberian deer (Capreolus pygargus). We also aimed to assess the applicability of the control region for determining the population origin and assignment of individuals to certain regions, and the suitability of maternal lines for exclusion testing.

In our research, we used tissue samples (n=43) taken from legally harvested deer by professional hunters from several regions of the country. The extracted DNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using a primer pair designed for the whole control region of the mitogenome. PCR products were purified and sequenced and the obtained sequences were aligned to the reference genome and the haplotype of each sample was determined.

Our own sequences were supplemented with the sequences of individuals from other domestic areas (n=75) downloaded from GenBank, so a total of 38 haplotypes were found in the Hungarian roe deer populations. Among these haplotypes, 13 were newly detected in Hungary, of which ten have not been described before. Based on our results, the same haplotypes can occur in several populations far apart from each other. Hence, it is not possible to distinguish populations based on the mitochondrial control region alone, nor to determine individuals geographically, which was supported by statistical methods (F statistic) as well.

At the same time, since maternal lines show great diversity, investigation of the control region can be suitable for exclusion and thus for answering certain questions that are also relevant from legal point of view. As a continuation of this research, we plan to survey the domestic deer population with autosomal genetic markers (microsatellites), which, in addition to identification at the individual level, may also help to distinguish herds by geographic region.



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