Mitochondrial genetic diversity, phylogeny and population structure of hydropotesinermisin South Korea

Baek Jun Kim, Yun Sun Lee, Yong Su Park, Kyung Seok Kim, Mi Sook Min, Sang Don Lee, Hang Lee

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4 Scopus citations


The water deer (Hydropotesinermis) is one of the rarest species of deer in the family Cervidae. Only two subspecies exist in East Asia, and few studies have examined the genetic characteristics of the species. Here, we investigated the genetic diversity, phylogeny and population differentiation of the Korean subspecies (H. inermisargyropus). Seventeen mitochondrial D-loop haplotypes (822 bp) were detected and analyzed from 107 individual samples, together with a Chinese subspecies (H. inermisinermis) haplotype. The genetic diversity of the Korean subspecies is lower (π = 0.756%, h = 0.867) than that of the Chinese subspecies estimated in a previous study. This low genetic diversity may result from historical anthropogenic disturbances and/or a founder effect during the glacial period. The phylogenetic tree and median-joining network showed no location-specific distribution of D-loop haplotypes, but revealed two major lineages, A and B, of water deer. The A and B lineages were separated from each other at the beginning of the Pleistocene era (2.1–1.3 million years ago), with a genetic divergence of 1.332 ±0.340%. The genetic divergence within lineages A and B was 0.525 ± 0.167% and 0.264 ± 0.113%, respectively. This suggests that climate change affected the division of the two lineages. Water deer sampled from the three Korean regions (26 locations) were slightly distinct in their genetic structure (AMOVA: FST = 0.28416,P< 0.00001; ΦST = 0.19239, P < 0.00001). Such slight population differentiation may be derived from differential dispersal ability in males and females. The use of genetic markers, such as nuclear microsatellite and Y-linked DNA markers, and samples collected from various localities in East Asia should improve our understanding of the water deer’s genetic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalGenes and Genetic Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Genetics Society of Japan. All rights reserved.


  • Control region
  • Genetic diversity
  • Phylogeny
  • Population structure
  • Water deer


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