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Microsatellite genotypes obtained from Banded Mongoose in Chobe District Botswana

posted on 20.04.2021, 13:26 by Kelton Verble, Kathleen Ann Alexander, Eric Hallerman
Disease transmission can be strongly influenced by the manner in which conspecifics are connected across a landscape and the effects of land use upon these dynamics. In northern Botswana, the territorial and group-living banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) lives across urban and natural landscapes and is infected with a novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex pathogen, M. mungi. Using microsatellite markers amplified from DNA derived from banded mongoose fecal and tissue samples (n = 168), we evaluated population genetic structure, individual dispersal, and gene flow for 12 troops. Genetic structure was detectable and moderately strong across groups (FST = 0.086), with K = 7 being the best-supported number of genetic clusters. Indications of admixture in certain troops suggest formation of new groups through recent fusion events. Differentiation was higher for troops inhabiting natural (FST = areas 0.102) than for troops in urban landscapes (FST = 0.081). While this suggests increased levels of gene flow between urban-dwelling troops, the inclusion of a smaller number of study troops from natural land types may have influenced these findings. Of those individuals confirmed infected with M. mungi, the majority (73%, n = 11) were assigned to their natal group consistent with previous observations linking lower levels of dispersal with infection. Twenty-one probable dispersing individuals were identified, with the all suspected migrants originating from troops within the urban landscape. Findings suggest that urbanized landscapes may increase both gene flow and dispersal behavior with a concomitant increase in the risk of pathogen spread. As urban landscapes expand, there is an increasing need to understand how land use and pathogen infection may change wildlife behavior and disease transmission potential.


Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease program (grant #479367).



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Chobe District Botswana

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