Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/9264
The Icelandic gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is a small and isolated non-migratory population and its ecological status has been carefully monitored for the last three decades. Lack of genetic diversity within isolated bird populations has been linked to greater susceptibility to environmental threats; therefore, estimates of the degree of genetic diversity in endangered species can be crucial. This study set out to complement the current existing ecological data with genetic diversity assessment from small amount of DNA, e.g. from feathers. For this purpose, three multiplex panels were developed which collectively incorporated 13 different established microsatellite loci across the gyrfalcon genome. Analysis of the microsatellite data from 80 falcons suggests that the Icelandic gyrfalcon is a single population, which has an effective population size (Ne) = 22 and observed heterozygosity (HO) = 0.43. Probability of identity for the microsatellite diagnosis method (PID) = 2.9 x 10-5, meaning that no two birds in the study had the same genetic profile. Further, a fast, low cost and reliable molecular technique was established for sex identification. Genetic diversity of the Icelandic gyrfalcon population is similar to other gyrfalcon populations breeding in the sub-Arctic and can be considered viable.