Mammalian Biology

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 274–285 | Cite as

Genetic structure of the wild boar population in Portugal: Evidence of a recent bottleneck

  • Eduardo FerreiraEmail author
  • Luís Souto
  • Amadeu M. V. M. Soares
  • Carlos Fonseca
Original Investigation


The present study assesses the degree of genetic structure and the presence of recent genetic bottlenecks in the wild boar population in Portugal. One hundred and ten individuals were sampled after capture during organised legal drive hunts, conducted in 58 municipalities across the continental territory, during the game seasons of 2002/2003 and 2003/2004. Individuals were genetically typed at six microsatellite loci using multiplex PCR amplification. Significant deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium were found for the total population of wild boar in Portugal. Wild boar population genetic structure was assessed using Bayesian methods, suggesting the existence of three subpopulations (North, Centre and South). Tests were conducted to detect the presence of potential migrants and hybrids between subpopulations. After exclusion of these individuals, three sets of wild boars representative of respective subpopulations were distinguished and tested for the effects of recent bottlenecks. Genetic distances between pairs of subpopulations were quantified using FST and RST estimators, revealing a variation of 0.138–0.178 and 0.107–0.198, respectively. On the basis of genetic and distribution data for Portuguese wild boar from the beginning of the 20th century, a model of strong demographic decline and contraction to isolated refuge areas at the national level, followed by a recovery and expansion towards former distribution limits is suggested. Some evidence points to present admixture among subpopulations in contact areas.


Sus scrofa L. Genetic structure Bottleneck Microsatellites Bayesian statistics 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Ferreira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luís Souto
    • 1
  • Amadeu M. V. M. Soares
    • 1
  • Carlos Fonseca
    • 1
  1. 1.CESAM & Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal

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