Genes, Vol. 12, Pages 1555: A Meta-Analytical Investigation of the Gap between Measured and Predicted Inter-Population Genetic Diversity in Species of High Conservation Concern—The Case of the Critically Endangered European Mink Mustela lutreola L., 1761
Although properly designed sampling in population genetic studies is of key importance for planning evidence-informed conservation measures, sampling strategies are rarely discussed. This is the case for the European mink Mustela lutreola, a critically endangered species. In order to address this problem, a meta-analysis aiming to examine the completeness of mtDNA haplotype sampling in recent studies of M. lutreola inter-population genetic diversity was conducted. The analysis was performed using the sample-size-based rarefaction and extrapolation sampling curve method for three populations—the Northeastern (Russia, Belarus and Estonia), the Western (France and Spain), and the Southeastern (Romania). The extrapolated values of the Shannon–Wiener index were determined, assuming full sample coverage. The gap between the measured and predicted inter-population genetic diversity was estimated, indicating that the identified level of sample coverage was the lowest for the NE population (87%), followed by the SE population (96%) and the W population (99%). A guide for sampling design and accounting for sampling uncertainty in future population genetic studies on European mink is provided. The relatively low sample coverage for the Russian population clearly indicates an urgent need to take conservation measures for European mink in this country.
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