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Genetic analysis of Pere David's x red deer interspecies hybrids

Tate, M.L., Goosen, G.J., Patene, H., Pearse, A.J., McEwan, K.M., Fennessy, P.F.
Journal of heredity 1997 v.88 no.5 pp. 361-365
Cervus elaphus, DNA, Elaphurus davidianus, artificial insemination, backcrossing, body weight, chromosome mapping, deer, females, genes, genetic analysis, genetic improvement, genetic markers, gestation period, head, hybrids, males, morphometry, phenotype, progeny, semen, tail, variance
Interspecies hybrids provide unique opportunities for fundamental genetic analyses and for genetic improvement of farmed deer. We have bred F1 hybrids by artificial insemination of red deer hinds (Cervus elaphus) with semen from Pere David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus). The male and female F1 Pere David deer X red deer hybrids were fertile and in matings with red deer have produced over 300 viable backcross hybrids. DNA was collected from the backcross progeny as an international reference panel for gene linkage mapping and to investigate associations between segregating species-specific genetic markers and phenotypic traits. We have measured a range of phenotypic traits in the backcross hybrids and red deer. Several traits appear suitable for genetic analysis using mapped genetic markers, including gestation length, growth rate, live weight, head morphometrics, and tail length. Typically these traits show a large difference between Pere David's deer and red deer and a high variance in the backcross so that many individuals have a phenotype outside the range observed in red deer.