Journal article

No outbreeding depression in a trial of targeted gene flow in an endangered Australian marsupial

Ella Kelly, Chris J Jolly, Naomi Indigo, Adam Smart, Jonathan Webb, Ben Phillips

CONSERVATION GENETICS | SPRINGER | Published : 2021

Abstract

Targeted gene flow is a novel conservation strategy that involves translocating individuals with favourable genes to areas where they will have a conservation benefit. One oft-cited risk of the strategy is the potential for outbreeding depression. Here, we used the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) as a model to test this possibility for the first time in a field setting. Northern quolls are endangered by the spread of the invasive cane toad (Rhinella marina), which they are fatally poisoned by, if they mistakenly attempt to consume them. There are, however, a small number of quolls that are “toad-smart”—they possess a heritable trait that means they innately do not attack toads. It is th..

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University of Melbourne Researchers