Genetic Characterization of Mona Island Feral Goats and Pigs using Microsatellite Markers
Ortiz Ruiz, Yadira
Funk, Stephan M
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Feral goats (Caprahircus) and pigs (Susscrofa) were introduced more than four centuries ago by Spanish settlers to Mona Island. They were set loose to reproduce and provide a source of fresh meat for travelers to Mona and other the Caribbean is lands. Pigs and goats can be found in a wide range of habitats ranging from wet to dry ecosystems. Both species can also survive in harsh environments due to various physiological an behavioral adaptations. Because of their ability to adapt to different environments (Moran-Fehretal., 2004) the goat, as well as the pigs are expected to show genetic responses to the range of environmental conditions they experience (Galal 2005). The use of microsatellite markers is one of the most powerful means to study genetic diversity and differentiation among populations. Microsatellite markers are highly polymorphic, randomly distributed throughout the genome and neutral with respect to selection (Agha et al., 2008). The characterization and of the genetic diversity of animals from Mona Island and other islands in the Caribbean will give us a better understanding on the ecological and evolutionary processes affecting the long term survival of the regionally adapted land races. The genetic characterization also provides us with data that can be used for more efficient management.