Metapopulation genetic structure in the water vole, Arvicola terrestris, in NE Scotland

W A Stewart, J F Dallas, S B Piertney, F Marshall, X Lambin, S Telfer

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40 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic structure of nine colonies of the water vole, Arvicola terrestris, in one area of NE Scotland was studied. Non-destructive samples from 478 individuals (mostly immature animals) were typed for 12 microsatellites. Cases of Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium were frequent within all colonies. The five colonies ill the inland part of the study area also showed frequent cases of linkage disequilibrium. All colonies showed high levels of genetic diversity (unbiased H=0.52-0.74). All five colonies sampled in successive years showed significant annual changes in genetic composition.,All colonies showed genetic differentiation from each other, whether measured by average theta, pairwise theta or pairwise Nei's genetic distance. The spatial pattern of genetic differentiation was consistent with either a stepping-stone model over the whole study area or an island model within the coastal and inland parts and art intervening barrier to gene flow. The study suggested that the genetic structure of colonies of A. terrestris often departs from the equilibrium states assumed by traditional methods for the study of gene flow, and that a parentage-based approach Mould be fruitful. (C) 1999 The Linnean Society of London.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • DNA
  • PCR
  • microsatellites heterozygosity
  • gene flow
  • FLOW


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