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Genetic variation in founder populations of the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, across the southern United States

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Populations initially founded by a small number of individuals risk chance increases in some genetic variants and experience periods during which only a few individuals survive to continue the existence of the population. Colonization of new locations by individuals from these founder populations is expected to result in further reduction of variation in founding populations. Tissue samples from the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, were subjected to allozyme electrophoresis to measure gene frequencies at two polymorphic loci for populations initially introduced to port cities along the Gulf Coast, and which are now distributed across the southern United States. We observed levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity that were markedly reduced in populations more distant from coastal localities, consistent with a hypothesis of founder effect.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597, United States; College of Sciences, The University of Findlay, Findlay, OH 45840-3695, United States; 2: 3637 Clark Hill Way, Buford, GA 30519, United States; 3: 650 Charles E. Young Drive, BH-307, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States; 4: Department of Teacher Education, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597, United States


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