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Low genetic diversity in the bottlenecked population of endangered non-native banteng in northern Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 05:59 authored by Bradshaw, CJA, Isagi, Y, Kaneko, S, Brook, BW, David BowmanDavid Bowman, Frankham, R
Undomesticated (wild) banteng are endangered in their native habitats in Southeast Asia. A potential conservation resource for the species is a large, wild population in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in northern Australia, descended from 20 individuals that were released from a failed British outpost in 1849. Because of the founding bottleneck, we determined the level of genetic diversity in four subpopulations in the national park using 12 microsatellite loci, and compared this to the genetic diversity of domesticated Asian Bali cattle, wild banteng and other cattle species. We also compared the loss of genetic diversity using plausible genetic data coupled to a stochastic Leslie matrix model constructed from existing demographic data. The 53 Australian banteng sampled had average microsatellite heterozygosity (HE) of 28% compared to 67% for outbred Bos taurus and domesticated Bos javanicus populations. The Australian banteng inbreeding coefficient (F) of 0.58 is high compared to other endangered artiodactyl populations. The 95% confidence bounds for measured heterozygosity overlapped with those predicted from our stochastic Leslie matrix population model. Collectively, these results show that Australian banteng have suffered a loss of genetic diversity and are highly inbred because of the initial population bottleneck and subsequent small population sizes. We conclude that the Australian population is an important hedge against the complete loss of wild banteng, and it can augment threatened populations of banteng in their native range. This study indicates the genetic value of small populations of endangered artiodactyls established ex situ.


Publication title

Molecular Ecology










School of Natural Sciences


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

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