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Partitioning of molecular variation at local spatial scales in the vulnerable neotropical freshwater turtle, Hydromedusa maximiliani (Testudines, Chelidae): implications for the conservation of aquatic organisms in natural hierarchical systems   Souza, F. L., Cunha, A. F., Oliveira, M.A., Pereira, G. A. G., Pinheiro, H., Reis, S. F.  Biological Conservation. 104(1): 119-126  2002

Hydromedusa maximiliani is a vulnerable freshwater turtle endemic to mountainous regions of the Atlantic rainforest in southeastern Brazil. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) were surveyed with the purpose of assessing the genetic structure and determining the partitioning of molecular variation in H. maximiliani across the natural spatial hierarchical scale of its habitat. The goal of the study was to integrate ecological data with estimates of molecular genetics diversity to develop strategies for the conservation of this freshwater turtle. Specimens were sampled from rivers and streams across three drainages. Nine of the 80 primers used generated 27 scoreable bands of which 10 (37%) were polymorphic and produced 16 RAPD phenotypes. Significant heterogeneity was found in the distribution of RAPD molecular phenotypes across the three drainages. Analysis of molecular variance for molecular phenotypes showed that the heterogeneity had a spatial structure since a significant amount (22%) of the total variance was attributable to variation among rivers and streams. Since the genetic variation of this turtle seems to be structured according to the natural hierarchical system of rivers and streams within drainages, it is suggested that local populations should be considered as separate management units.

Apoio financeiro: FAPESP, CNPq, FAEP/UNICAMP
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