Release of captive-bred red-legged (Alectoris rufa) partridges is used to reinforce hunting areas where wild populations have decreased in southern European countries. However, breeders have often used other species to improve acclimation to captivity (e.g. Alectoris chukar), producing different degrees of hybridized individuals. In this study, three hunting reserve partitions, characterized by the different likelihood of contact with captive-reared partridges, were sampled and genotyped with 22 microsatellite markers to check for the existence of A. rufa x A. chukar hybridization and to compare the genetic composition of restocked and non-restocked red-legged partridge populations. Our results reveal the efficiency of the marker set used to differentiate among closely related A. rufa partridge populations, and the different genetic composition between captive-reared individuals and wild ones, but also the hybridization with A. chukar partridges on cynegetic farms. These facts must be taken into account and genetic controls of farm breeding stocks should be performed before restocking, both to avoid introgression in wild populations and to guarantee the reintroduction of partridges of known genetic origin in each area
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.