Are Sydney rabbits different?

Phillips, S., Zenger, K.R., and Richardson, B.J. (2002) Are Sydney rabbits different? Australian Zoologist, 32 (1). pp. 49-55.

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Rabbits have been present in the Sydney district since well before the Geelong release that provided the genetic stock of rabbits seen throughout most of Australia. In this study a comparison was made between the genetic variation present in, and the endoparasitic communities of, rabbits in the Sydney region and elsewhere in Australia. A genetic variant in the mtDNA control region is common in the Sydney population studied but is not found elsewhere in Australia. The allozyme variants present are similar to those found in inland NSW, though a rare phosphogluconate dehydrogenase allele is missing from the three high rainfall populations (Sydney, Mogo and Bemboka) studied. While different coat colours are found in rabbits in inland NSW, 'blue' rabbits are not found in Sydney rabbit populations and 'ginger' rabbits are very rare. The suite of ten nematode and protozoan parasite species present in Sydney populations is the same as that found elsewhere in NSW. Six parasitic species found in England are not found in Australia. However, they are also not found in New Zealand, one of the possible alternate sources of Sydney rabbits. The biology of the parasites in the Sydney region is similar to that elsewhere in Australia. It seems likely that rabbit populations in the Sydney area maintain genetic variation derived from both the Geelong release and at least one local release near Sydney. The divergences in the gene pool are minor and it is likely that the rabbits will not show any significant differences in their ecology from those elsewhere, a result supported by the similarity in the ecology of the parasite suite.

Item ID: 34265
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0067-2238
Keywords: rabbits, Oryctolagus, mtDNA, allozymes, parasitology, Eimeria
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2014 04:52
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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