Genetics and Molecular Biology | 2021

Genetic structure of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) in the Gulf of Thailand



Abstract The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is an endangered, small cetacean species which is widely distributed in rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters throughout the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific. Despite the extensive distribution of this species, little is known of individual movements or genetic exchange among regions in Thailand. Here, we evaluate the genetic diversity and genetic structure of O. brevirostris in the eastern, northern and western Gulf of Thailand, and Andaman Sea. Although phylogenetic relationships and network analysis based on 15 haplotypes obtained from 32 individuals reveal no obvious divergence, significant genetic differentiation in mitochondrial DNA (overall FST = 0.226, P < 0.001; ╬ŽST = 0.252, P < 0.001) is apparent among regions. Of 18 tested microsatellite loci, 10 are polymorphic and successfully characterized in 28 individuals, revealing significant genetic differentiation (overall FST = 0.077, P < 0.05) among the four sampling sites. Structure analysis reveals two inferred genetic clusters. Additionally, Mantel analysis demonstrates individual-by-individual genetic distances and geographic distances follow an isolation-by-distance model. We speculate that the significant genetic structure of O. brevirostris in Thailand is associated with a combination of geographical distribution patterns, environmental and anthropogenic factors, and local adaptations.

Volume 44
Pages None
DOI 10.1590/1678-4685-GMB-2020-0365
Language English
Journal Genetics and Molecular Biology

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