Article: article from journal or magazin.
Massive genetic introgression in threatened northern crested newts (Triturus cristatus) by an invasive congener (T. carnifex) in Western Switzerland
Genetic pollution through introgressive hybridization of local species by exotic relatives is a major, yet neglected aspect of biological invasions, particularly in amphibians where human introductions are frequent. In Western Switzerland, crested newts make an interesting case: the Italian species Triturus carnifex was introduced at least a century ago within the range of the native and threatened T. cristatus. To understand the genetic consequences of this introduction and inform wildlife management authorities, we conducted a genetic survey on the remaining northern crested newt populations known in the area, using newly-developed species-diagnostic nuclear (microsatellites) and mitochondrial (control region) DNA markers. We documented massive nuclear introgression by the T. carnifex genome, which has completely replaced T. cristatus in most populations, especially in the Geneva area where the introduction was originally reported. However, many of these individuals retained the ancestral T. cristatus mtDNA, which could be explained by asymmetric introgression between the two species, stemming from demographic and/or selective processes. Analyses of genetic diversity support multiple events of T. carnifex releases, most-likely of proximate North Italian origin. We pinpointed the last indigenous populations in the region and recommend to prioritize their protection. Our study demonstrates the invasive potential of introduced taxa through introgressive hybridization, alerts about the underestimated rate of illegal amphibian translocations, and emphasizes the need for genetic analyses to monitor such invasions.
Conservation, Asymmetric reproductive isolation, Hybridization, Invasive species, Amphibian, Microsatellites, mtDNA
Web of science
Last modification date