Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 2945–2955 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) revealed by AFLP analysis: an implication on the management of captive conservation

  • Yi-Quan Wang
  • Wei-Quan Zhu
  • Lei Huang
  • Kai-Ya Zhou
  • Ren-Ping Wang


Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) is one of the most critically endangered species among 23 extant crocodiles in the world. To prevent the extinction of the species, a captive propagation started at early 1980s, and the total number of alligator was brought up to 10 thousands from dozens of founder in 2000. But several genetic investigations showed those alligators were under an extremely low genetic diversity status with few detectible polymorphic loci. To get more insight into its genetic diversity for the management of captive Chinese alligator, AFLP was adopted to characterize variations in the population. Total of 347 bands were generated from 47 individuals using 3 primer combinations, of which 203 (58.50%) were polymorphic, and 35 AFLP phenotypes were revealed from those individuals. Comparing the results between RAPD and AFLP analysis on almost same sample set clearly indicated that AFLP is more efficient in revealing polymorphic loci, especially in those populations with extremely low genetic diversity. In present three assays, electrophoresis profile also displayed 3 individuals possessing very highly polymorphic AFLP phenotypes that were never been found by RAPD and mtDNA D-loop sequencing, implicating that we should offer these individuals more breeding opportunities to maintain the genetic diversity in the population and restrict those carrying few polymorphic loci from reproduction.


AFLP Chinese alligator Conservation management Genetic diversity Polymorphic loci 



Amplified fragment length polymorphism


Random amplified polymorphism DNA


Ahhui Research Center of Chinese Alligator Reproduction


Polymerase chains reaction


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Quan Wang
    • 1
  • Wei-Quan Zhu
    • 2
    • 4
  • Lei Huang
    • 1
  • Kai-Ya Zhou
    • 2
  • Ren-Ping Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Cell Biology and Tumor Cell Engineering, School of Life SciencesXiamen UniversityXiamenP.R. China
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingP.R. China
  3. 3.Anhui Research Center of Chinese Alligator ReproductionXuanzhouP.R. China
  4. 4.Division of BiochemistryCardiovascular Institute and Fu-Wai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingP.R. China

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