The brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas 1778) is a common palearctic and a popular game species therefore it has been an obvious subject for population genetic studies since the second part of the 20th century. Among the several mitochondrial DNA studies some have been carried out concerning nuclear genes as well. The agouti signaling
... protein gene (ASIP) is involved in regulating the synthesis of eumelanin and pheomelanin in melanocytes of mammals. Though many studies focused on it in relation with several mammalian species, minimal information is available on this topic concerning the brown hare.
Here we present a short communication concerning the agouti signaling protein (ASIP) gene in four different country’s L. europaeus populations, namely Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia and Georgia. N=45 tissue samples have been investigated from overall 17 sampling sites of the different countries. There has not been found any polymorphism among the sequences. In an alignment with other Leporid species’ partial ASIP sequences downloaded from ENA we have found that based on a 178 base pairs long DNA sequence the haplotype of our samples contains three other Lepus species as well. This is concordant with the findings of a previous study focusing predominantly on the European rabbit (Orycto lagus cuniculus Linnaeus 1758) and the several mutations of its ASIP gene.
The brown hare being an important game species which is widespread across the European continent has been in focus of many population genetic studies. However only a few comprising researches can be found on the diversity of Central-European populations.
The aim of our large scale long term ongoing study is to fill this gap of informati
...on on the species by describing the genetic history and structure of the brown hare populations of the area using both mitochondrial DNA markers and genomic skin and hair colour regulating genes.
This article gives forth a part of our results concerning the mitochondrial DNA diversity of Hungarian brown hares based on amplification of a 512 bp long D-loop sequence. N=39 tissue or hair samples have been collected from 15 sampling sites on the Hungarian Great Plain. We have described a high level of haplotype diversity (Hd=0.879±0.044) based on a 410 bp alignment of our sequences. We have found 17 haplotypes within our sample set with the nucleotid diversity of π=0.01167±0.0022. Our ongoing research shows high genetic diversity for the brown hare in the studied region and a second alignment with 156 sequences downloaded from GenBank indicates a geographic pattern of haplotypes among the studied populations though these results need confirmation by our further analyses.