SREL Reprint #0601




Biochemical Variation and Genetic Heterogeneity in South Carolina Deer Populations

P. R. Ramsey, J. C. Avise, M. H. Smith, and D. F. Urbston



Protein variation in 218 white-tailed deer(Odocoileus virginianus) from the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina was examined by starch gel electrophoresis. Polymorphism occurred for 7 of 21 structual loci coding for 20 protein systems and for a gene duplication of alpha-chain hemoglobin. Segregating alleles were detected for esterase, transferring, phosphoglucomutase, glutamic oxalacetic transaminase, malate dehydrogenase, and beta-chained hemoglobin. Swamp and upland subpopulations were recognized from 6 years of data from controlled hunts. The swamp herd had higher but declining density, older age structure, 35% lower fertility among female fawns, and 13% greater mortality of male fawns at the time the genetic data were collected. Esterase and hemoglobin loci showed significant differences in genotypic proportions between herds, sexes and age classes. Associated demographic and genetic differences suggest applications of electrophoretic data to management practices by identifying subpopulations, assessing migration, and detecting selection.     


SREL Reprint #0601

Ramsey, P.R., J.C. Avise, M.H. Smith, and D.F. Urbston. 1979. Biochemical variation and genetic heterogeneity in South Carolina deer populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 43:136-142.

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