Estimation of introgression in cutthroat trout populations using microsatellites

Victoria L. Pritchard, Ken Jones, David E. Cowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Introgressive hybridization, mediated by anthropogenic activity, poses a threat to numerous and diverse taxa. The management of introgressed individuals or populations within species of conservation concern is currently the subject of scientific and political debate. We investigate the utility of 10 non-diagnostic microsatellite loci for investigating admixture from introduced Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) and rainbow trout (O. mykiss) within 25 putative Rio Grande cutthroat trout (O. c. virginalis) populations. We apply five different approaches (correspondence analysis, maximum-likelihood assignment tests, an admixture estimator based on allele frequencies, an admixture estimator based on coalescent theory and an admixture estimator implementing a Bayesian method) and use two alternative O. c. virginalis reference samples. All approaches were capable of identifying one population that consisted entirely of introduced O. c. bouvieri, and three out of five approaches enabled us to discriminate those populations with relatively high levels of non-native introgression from those populations with little or none. Actual estimates of admixture coefficients within a test population, varied, however, with the approach and reference sample used. These results have important implications for policies dividing populations into different management categories according to the estimated proportion of non-native genetic material that they contain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1329
Number of pages19
JournalConservation Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2007


  • Conservation
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Hybrid
  • Introgression
  • Microsatellite
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii


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