Molecular ecology and biological control: the mating system of a marsupial pest

Stephen SARRE, Niccy AITKEN, Mick Clout, Judith Robins, David Lambert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    21 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Many studies in molecular ecology have focused on the use of repeat DNA markers to determine the nature of mating systems in a wide variety of animal species. Whilst these studies typically have focused on important issues such as the evolutionary consequences of fitness variation among males, genetic studies of mating systems are potentially also important because they can generate information of significance to wider issues in wildlife management. For example, genetically modified, sexually transmitted viral diseases have been suggested as potential agents for the control of vertebrate pest species. An understanding of the epidemiology of such agents requires an intimate knowledge of the sexual contact rates between individuals of the target species. Here, we report the use of minisatellite DNA profiling to reveal the mating system in two New Zealand populations of the introduced Australian brushtail possum. The brushtail possum is New Zealand's most important mammalian pest and a species for which control by a sexually transmitted immunocontraceptive has been proposed. Encouragingly, we report considerable variation in the reproductive success of males at both study sites, with one male siring offspring from four females in one year (mean no. of offspring/reproductively successful male/year at the two sites is 1.95-2.15), while many sired none. This bias in the pattern of reproductive success among males will probably facilitate the spread of an immunocontraceptive agent and thereby increase the power of this approach to biological control.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)723-734
    JournalMolecular Ecology
    Volume9
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

    Fingerprint

    Marsupialia
    molecular ecology
    marsupial
    Metatheria
    Ecology
    mating systems
    biological control
    reproductive strategy
    pests
    ecology
    New Zealand
    reproductive success
    Viral Sexually Transmitted Diseases
    vertebrate pests
    sexually transmitted disease
    viral disease
    DNA
    pest species
    Pest Control
    Minisatellite Repeats

    Cite this

    SARRE, S., AITKEN, N., Clout, M., Robins, J., & Lambert, D. (2000). Molecular ecology and biological control: the mating system of a marsupial pest. Molecular Ecology, 9(6), 723-734.
    SARRE, Stephen ; AITKEN, Niccy ; Clout, Mick ; Robins, Judith ; Lambert, David. / Molecular ecology and biological control: the mating system of a marsupial pest. In: Molecular Ecology. 2000 ; Vol. 9, No. 6. pp. 723-734.
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    abstract = "Many studies in molecular ecology have focused on the use of repeat DNA markers to determine the nature of mating systems in a wide variety of animal species. Whilst these studies typically have focused on important issues such as the evolutionary consequences of fitness variation among males, genetic studies of mating systems are potentially also important because they can generate information of significance to wider issues in wildlife management. For example, genetically modified, sexually transmitted viral diseases have been suggested as potential agents for the control of vertebrate pest species. An understanding of the epidemiology of such agents requires an intimate knowledge of the sexual contact rates between individuals of the target species. Here, we report the use of minisatellite DNA profiling to reveal the mating system in two New Zealand populations of the introduced Australian brushtail possum. The brushtail possum is New Zealand's most important mammalian pest and a species for which control by a sexually transmitted immunocontraceptive has been proposed. Encouragingly, we report considerable variation in the reproductive success of males at both study sites, with one male siring offspring from four females in one year (mean no. of offspring/reproductively successful male/year at the two sites is 1.95-2.15), while many sired none. This bias in the pattern of reproductive success among males will probably facilitate the spread of an immunocontraceptive agent and thereby increase the power of this approach to biological control.",
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    SARRE, S, AITKEN, N, Clout, M, Robins, J & Lambert, D 2000, 'Molecular ecology and biological control: the mating system of a marsupial pest', Molecular Ecology, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 723-734.

    Molecular ecology and biological control: the mating system of a marsupial pest. / SARRE, Stephen; AITKEN, Niccy; Clout, Mick; Robins, Judith; Lambert, David.

    In: Molecular Ecology, Vol. 9, No. 6, 2000, p. 723-734.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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