The genetic diversity of the Ethiopian endemic Ankober Serin Crithagra ankoberensis was studied in two populations at Simien Mountains National Park and Guassa Community Conservation Area using five microsatellite markers. Blood samples were taken from 16 and 14 birds, respectively. Three molecular markers resulted in relatively low, though noticeable differences between the two populations. The analysis also showed the presence of shared alleles, indicating current gene flow between the two populations. Two markers from Simien Mountains National Park and two markers from Guassa Community Conservation Area revealed obvious deviations from the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. We interpret these deviations in both populations as limited population size and restricted gene flow. The genetic differentiation between the two populations thus could be explained by their geographical separation (more than 360 km), reinforced by barriers, such as steep mountains, deep valleys and extensive plains (isolation by distance). On the other hand, a stepping-stone mechanism between geographically intermediate populations across small distances might explain the observed gene flow. Further studies are needed to better reconstruct the biogeographic history and conservation needs of the Ankober Serin populations in Ethiopia.
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Vol. 56 • No. 4