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Genetic variability in three Amazon parrot species

DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842007000500011

Keywords: genetic variation, parrots, allozymes, illegal trade.

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Abstract:

parrots of the genus amazona are among the most threatened species of the order pscittaciformes. this work describes allozyme polymorphisms in three amazon parrot species - the blue-fronted amazon (amazona aestiva), the orange-winged amazon (amazona amazonica), and the festive amazon (amazona festiva) -, and provides useful data for the evaluation of their genetic variability. we electrophoretically analyzed blood samples from 68 wild-caught individuals, maintained in captivity in three brazilian zoos. eight of the ten studied enzyme loci exhibited polymorphism. glucosephosphate isomerase (gpi) proved to be a diagnostic locus for the identification of these amazon species. the expected average heterozygosity of the blue-fronted amazon (0.060) differed significantly from the expected heterozygosities of the orange-winged amazon and the festive amazon (0.040 and 0.039, respectively). this result was discussed as a consequence of hybridization between two geographic a. aestiva subspecies, and alternatively as a particular trait of this species. genetic variability of the blue-fronted amazon compared to birds in general is not low on a species-wide level, despite the fact that this parrot is one of the most illegally traded species. allozyme analysis proved to be an useful tool in monitoring the genetic variation within the genus amazona and can be applied in the management program of other threatened species of this genus.

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