Genetic diversity and population genetic structure of the only population of Aoluguya Reindeer (<i>Rangifer tarandus</i>) in China

<p>Aoluguya Reindeer is the only reindeer species in China and currently approximately 1000 Aoluguya Reindeer remain semi-domesticated. A relative low diversity estimate was found by investigating genetic variability and demographic history of its population. Mismatch distribution curve of its nucleotide sequences and neutral test indicate its population has not experienced expansion. Genetic diversity and population structure were also analysed by using its mtDNA and microsatellites technology. Statistical results of these analyses showed there were varying degrees of population inbreeding and suggested that gene flow existed among its populations at one time. Three mutation models were also used to detect the bottleneck effect of reindeer population. The genetic variation of eight populations is relatively small. In addition, the clustering program STRUCTURE was used to analyse Aoluguya Reindeer population structure, to determine its optimal <i>K</i> and first time to analyse the phylogenetic status of Aoluguya Reindeer among other reindeer subspecies. It is recommended that the government establish a natural conservation area in Aoluguya Reindeer growing geography, forbade the trade and hunting of Aoluguya Reindeer, and strengthen the protection of this endangered species.</p>