Two Endemic Subspecies of Deer from Korea (Hydropotes inermis argyropus and Capreolus pygargus ochracea): Genetic Divergence and Conservation


Hung Sun Koh
Department of Biology, Chungbuk University, Cheongju, Korea

Kyung Hee Jang
Department of Biology, Chungbuk University, Cheongju, Korea

Bae Keun Lee
Department of Biology, Chungbuk University, Cheongju, Korea

Damdingiin Bayarlkhagva
Department of Molecular Biology, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Byong Guk Yang
National Institute

Series: Animal Science, Issues and Research
BISAC: SCI070000

The authors examined genetic distinctness of two endemic subspecies of deer in Korea [Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus) in Korean peninsula and Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus ochracea) in Korean peninsula and Korean Jeju Island] by nuclear IRBP and mitochondrial cytochrome b and control region sequence analyses of two species in Asia. Two sympatric phylogroups of Chinese water deer in Korea, previously recognized from our cytochrome b and control region sequence analysis, were indistinguishable in this IRBP sequence analysis. On the other hand, genetic distinctness of the Siberian roe deer in Jeju Island, previously revealed from our control region sequence analysis, was confirmed from present IRBP analysis.

The authors concluded that Jeju Island roe deer is an allopatric phylogroup, which differs from other populations in Asia, including Korean peninsula, northeastern China, far-eastern Russia, Mongolia, and western Siberian Kurgan. Each endemic subspecies of deer in Korea is genetically distinct to be considered as evolutionary significant unit (ESU), and each subspecies is unique in their distributional aspect as well. However, conservation status of two deer in Korea is in striking contrast. The former is abundant, and is regarded as a pest, game mammal, whereas the latter was rare, and is treated as a protected mammal. In order to determine protection tactics for two subspecies of deer in Korea and other deer from other regions as well, the authors recommend adoption of a criterion, i.e., evaluation of distributional and evolutionary uniqueness in global scale, to up-glade into threatened category, when population size in a certain local area is large enough to fit the IUCN guideline for the least concern category. (Imprint: Nova)


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