Effective number of breeding adults in Bufo bufo estimated from age-specific variation at minisatellite loci

Mol Ecol. 1997 Aug;6(8):701-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294x.1997.00238.x.


Estimates of the effective number of breeding adults were derived for three semi-isolated populations of the common toad Bufo bufo based on temporal (i.e. adult-progeny) variance in allele frequency for three highly polymorphic minisatellite loci. Estimates of spatial variance in allele frequency among populations and of age-specific measures of genetic variability are also described. Each population was characterized by a low effective adult breeding number (Nb) based on a large age-specific variance in minisatellite allele frequency. Estimates of Nb (range 21-46 for population means across three loci) were approximately 55-230-fold lower than estimates of total adult census size. The implications of low effective breeding numbers for long-term maintenance of genetic variability and population viability are discussed relative to the species' reproductive ecology, current land-use practices, and present and historical habitat modification and loss. The utility of indirect measures of population parameters such as Nb and Ne based on time-series data of minisatellite allele frequencies is discussed relative to similar measures estimated from commonly used genetic markers such as protein allozymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Bufo bufo* / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • England
  • Female
  • Fresh Water
  • Gene Frequency
  • Male
  • Minisatellite Repeats*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Population Density
  • Reproduction


  • DNA