Genetic variability of the endangered fish lake minnow (Eupallasella percnurus) in populations newly established by translocation and those existing long term in Poland

PLoS One. 2024 Jun 14;19(6):e0304274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0304274. eCollection 2024.


The lake minnow Eupallasella percnurus is a small leuciscid fish. In Poland, this species has been in a continuous decline since the mid-20th century and is presently considered as a extremely endangered. According to Polish law, E. percnurus is a strictly protected species that requires active conservation measures. In Poland, one the most common and effective measure of active protection E. percnurus is initiation of new populations. For this purpose, in 2004-2012, juvenile individuals originating from aquaculture conditions were translocated to group of isolated water bodies not inhabited by this species. The juveniles were offspring of parental fish belonging to the same local population, which is extinct at present. Five of those attempts were successful. The aim of the present study was to assess the genetic variation in a group new populations and compare genetic variation indicators with 13 old populations that had existed for decades. The polymorphism of 13 microsatellite markers was investigated, significance of differences in the genetic variation indicators between the groups were tested using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The mean values of all summary statistics under study, i.e. observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity and the total number of alleles, were higher in the group of new populations compared to almost all old ones. A similar dependence was found for Garza-Williamson M values, where the mean for the group of new populations was higher than in almost all old populations. Our results indicate that all recently established E. percnurus populations have not yet experienced any extensive founder effects or bottlenecks. They have preserved a large part of the genetic variability typical of their maternal population, which might also have been relatively high. This feature of new populations, may give them a relatively high ability to adapt to changing environments in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Cyprinidae* / genetics
  • Endangered Species*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Lakes
  • Microsatellite Repeats* / genetics
  • Poland

Grants and funding

1. Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Poland, Grant Number: N N304 324839 for 2010–2013; (financial support of: collection of samples, lab analysis, chemicals, NGS sequencing), 2. National Science Centre, Poland, Grant Number: 2014/15/B/NZ9/05240 for 2015–2019; (financial support of: collection of samples, lab equipment, lab analysis, lab plastics, chemicals) 3. Statutory Research Topics of the National Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Poland, Grants Numbers: Z-005 and Z-020 for 2024-2026. (financial support of: prepare the manuscript, publication costs).