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Genetic diversity of the Nubian ibex in Oman as revealed by mitochondrial DNA

Al-Ghafri, Mataab K.; White, Patrick J. C.; Briers, Robert A.; Dicks, Kara L.; Ball, Alex; Ghazali, Muhammad; Ross, Steven; Al-Said, Taimur; Al-Amri, Haitham; Al-Umairi, Mudhafar; Al-Saadi, Hani; Aka'ak, Ali; Hardan, Ahmed; Zabanoot, Nasser; Craig, Mark; Senn, Helen


Kara L. Dicks

Alex Ball

Muhammad Ghazali

Steven Ross

Taimur Al-Said

Haitham Al-Amri

Mudhafar Al-Umairi

Hani Al-Saadi

Ali Aka'ak

Ahmed Hardan

Nasser Zabanoot

Mark Craig

Helen Senn


The Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) is patchily distributed across parts of Africa and Arabia. In Oman, it is one of the few free-ranging wild mammals found in the central and southern regions. Its population is declining due to habitat degradation, human expansion, poaching and fragmentation. Here, we investigated the population's genetic diversity using mitochondrial DNA (D-loop 186 bp and cytochrome b 487 bp). We found that the Nubian ibex in the southern region of Oman was more diverse (D-loop HD; 0.838) compared with the central region (0.511) and gene flow between them was restricted. We compared the genetic profiles of wild Nubian ibex from Oman with captive ibex. A Bayesian phylogenetic tree showed that wild Nubian ibex form a distinct clade independent from captive animals. This divergence was supported by high mean distances (D-loop 0.126, cytochrome b 0.0528) and high FST statistics (D-loop 0.725, cytochrome b 0.968). These results indicate that captive ibex are highly unlikely to have originated from the wild population in Oman and the considerable divergence suggests that the wild population in Oman should be treated as a distinct taxonomic unit. Further nuclear genetic work will be required to fully elucidate the degree of global taxonomic divergence of Nubian ibex populations.


Al-Ghafri, M. K., White, P. J. C., Briers, R. A., Dicks, K. L., Ball, A., Ghazali, M., …Senn, H. (2021). Genetic diversity of the Nubian ibex in Oman as revealed by mitochondrial DNA. Royal Society Open Science, 8(5), Article 210125.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 6, 2021
Online Publication Date May 26, 2021
Publication Date 2021-05
Deposit Date May 31, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2021
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Publisher Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 5
Article Number 210125
Keywords Oman, genetic diversity, conservation, D-loop, cytochrome b,Nubian ibex
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Genetic Diversity Of The Nubian Ibex In Oman As Revealed By Mitochondrial DNA (1.3 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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