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Red deer (Cervus elaphus) farming in Greece: predicting the rate of inbreeding and estimating the effective population size

  • G. Vatzias
  • E. Asmini
  • D. Papavasiliou
  • G. Maglaras
  • S. Nagy
  • Z. Zamborszky
Part of the EAAP – European Federation of Animal Science book series (EAAP, volume 129)

Abstract

The Greek deer industry made its appearance recently, with the establishment of a few small private deer farms with minimal (basic) infrastructures and imported breeding stock. The Department of Forestry owns three State farms where indigenous red deer are raised. The deer population used in this study was composed of 70 hinds and 17 stags, raised in Northern Greece, at the public red deer farm of Chrisopigi, near the city of Serres. Due to the lack of introducing new bloodlines in the herd for more than 20 years and indications of genetic drift, based on the low birth rate of the herd in addition to abnormal phenotypic characteristics (antler deformation), the inbreeding rate (ΔF) and the effective population size (Ne) over 1 generation of the population, was estimated. The average generation interval (L) was estimated to be four years, while 48 and 16 new hinds and stags respectively, enter the herd each generation. The results indicated that the expected rate of inbreeding in each generation was approximately 0.91% while the calculated effective population size was 45.6 animals. According to the literature, the effective population size is slightly below of the critical threshold required number of animals (50), indicating that there is a build up of mutational load. The above results lead to the conclusion that immediate measures should be taken in order to reduce inbreeding rate and increase the effective population size.

Keywords

red deer inbreeding conservation 

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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Vatzias
    • 1
  • E. Asmini
    • 2
  • D. Papavasiliou
    • 1
  • G. Maglaras
    • 1
  • S. Nagy
    • 3
  • Z. Zamborszky
    • 4
  1. 1.T.E.I of EpirusKostakiGreece
  2. 2.T.E.I of LarisaTrikalon ring RdGreece
  3. 3.University of PannoniaVeszpremHungary
  4. 4.University of KaposvarKaposvarHungary

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