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No difference between the sexes in fine-scale spatial genetic structure of roe deer

Abstract : Background: Data on spatial genetic patterns may provide information about the ecological and behavioural mechanisms underlying population structure. Indeed, social organization and dispersal patterns of species may be reflected by the pattern of genetic structure within a population. Methodology/Principal Findings: We investigated the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of a roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) population in Trois-Fontaines (France) using 12 microsatellite loci. The roe deer is weakly polygynous and highly sedentary, and can form matrilineal clans. We show that relatedness among individuals was negatively correlated with geographic distance, indicating that spatially proximate individuals are also genetically close. More unusually for a large mammalian herbivore, the link between relatedness and distance did not differ between the sexes, which is consistent with the lack of sex-biased dispersal and the weakly polygynous mating system of roe deer. Conclusions/Significance: Our results contrast with previous reports on highly polygynous species with male-biased dispersal, such as red deer, where local genetic structure was detected in females only. This divergence between species highlights the importance of socio-spatial organization in determining local genetic structure of vertebrate populations.
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Nadège Bonnot, Jean-Michel Gaillard, A. Coulon, Maxime Galan, Jean-Francois Cosson, et al.. No difference between the sexes in fine-scale spatial genetic structure of roe deer. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2010, 5 (12), pp.e14436. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0014436⟩. ⟨hal-02305014⟩

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