Conservation Genetics of Endangered Fish Populations in Arizona

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Science  26 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4711, pp. 400-402
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4711.400


Genetic diversity in remnant populations of the Sonoran topminnow Poeciliopsis occidentalis (Pisces: Poeciliidae) from Arizona, where the species is endangered, is compared with that in populations from Sonora, Mexico, where the fish is widespread and abundant. Geographically peripheral Arizona populations contain substantially lower levels of genetic variation than do Mexican populations near the center of the species' range. Allelic differences among three genetically and geographically distinct groups are responsible for 53 percent of the total genetic diversity in this species, 26 percent is due to differences among local populations within the groups, and 21 percent is due to heterozygosity within local populations. Recommendations for conservation and restocking efforts in Arizona are based on these genetic findings.