Science-based wildlife management relies on genetic information to infer population connectivity and identify conservation units. The most commonly used genetic marker for characterizing animal biodiversity and identifying maternal lineages is the mitochondrial genome. Mitochondrial genotyping figures prominently in conservation and management plans, with much of the attention focused on the non-coding displacement (“D”) loop. We used massively parallel multiplexed sequencing to sequence complete mitochondria: genomes from 40 fishers, a threatened carnivore that possesses low mitogenomic diversity. This allowed us to test a key assumption of conservation genetics, specifically, that the D-Ioop accurately reflects genealogical relationships and variation of the larger mitochondrial genome.
Knaus, Brian J.; Cronn, Richard; Liston, Aaron; Pilgrim, Kristine; Schwartz, Michael K. 2011. Mitochondrial genome sequences illuminate maternal lineages of conservation concern in a rare carnivore. BMC Ecology. 11:10. 14 p. doi:10.1186/1472-6785-11-10