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Monday, April 16 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
SYMPOSIA-05: Immunogenetic variation and potential pathogens of New England’s cottontails

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AUTHORS: Kimberly B. Neil*, T.J. McGreevy Jr., and David M. Rand - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University

ABSTRACT: Evaluating immunogenetic variation of wild populations can provide valuable insights into functionally significant genetic diversity of imperiled species. Coupling genetic data with potential ecological drivers supports further understanding of the processes and patterns that maintain adaptive diversity. This information is especially valuable for species of conservation concern, as this knowledge can inform population management and/or captive breeding strategies. Here, we investigate immunogenetic diversity and parasites/pathogens of the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis; NEC), which is currently the target of an ongoing reintroduction effort. We utilize next-generation sequencing technologies to capture immunogenetic diversity and potential parasites/pathogens within and across New England’s NEC populations. Specifically, we target genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which are critical to the vertebrate immune response, and host-associated bacteria. Preliminary findings indicate that NEC MHC genes display limited diversity within and across populations, that MHC variation within the NEC captive breeding program is reflective of naturally-occurring diversity, and that cottontails are host to a suite of bacteria that are of potential disease concern. This knowledge is of direct value to ongoing NEC conservation efforts and advances our understanding of immunogenetic variation and its potential parasite/pathogen drivers across wild populations.

Monday April 16, 2018 3:20pm - 3:40pm EDT
Montpelier A&B

Attendees (2)