As with other many game species in Europe, introductions of non-native stock to supplement Scottish red deer populations in an attempt to improve hunting trophy are well reported. These introductions included wapiti (Cervus elaphus canadensis or Cervus canadensis), a species two to three times heavier than the Scottish red deer. However, the effect of these past introductions of wapiti into Scottish red deer populations has not yet been assessed. In this study we sequenced a Y-chromosome marker (Zfy) from 104 collected in three neighbouring estates in the Scottish Highlands including one of the areas with the highest number of wapitis introduced in Scotland, and 45 red deer from an English deer park where introduction of wapiti and subsequent crosses with red deer were a common practice. Analyses revealed that all individuals presented red deer Y-chromosome sequences therefore suggesting a low impact of past introductions of wapiti in the populations under study. Sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of Zfy sequences for four additional deer species revealed that phylogenetic relationships were in agreement with previous mtDNA phylogenetic studies, and demonstrated the potential use of this marker to determine the direction of hybridization in F1 red-sika hybrids.
|Number of pages||4|
|Early online date||3 Nov 2010|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sep 2011|