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The North American native species Drosophila pseudoobscura was first identified in New Zealand in the last few decades. Here, we have studied the genetic consequences of its spread across the Pacific Ocean. Using 10 microsatellites that are highly variable in North American populations, we found that the New Zealand population has substantially fewer alleles, a much lower average heterozygosity, and significantly different allele frequencies at these loci. We have discussed the relative sensitivity of these parameters for detecting the founding event. X-linked loci were more strongly differentiated between continents than autosomal loci, as reflected by larger changes in allele frequencies and greater reductions in numbers of alleles and average heterozygosity. The severity of the genetic diversity loss supports a scenario of a few D. pseudoobscura females being introduced to New Zealand from North America.

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Journal of Heredity

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