Mathews, N.E. and W.F. Porter. 1993. Effect of social structure on genetic
structure of free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Adirondack. Journal
of Mammalogy, 74(1):33-43.
Abstract: The association between genetic structure and social
structure was investigated in a free-ranging population of white-tailed
deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in northern New York. Social
groups were differentiated based on spatial aggregations and allozymic
characteristics (P < 0.05). Genetic structure was evident despite the
high probability that males interbreed among adjacent and overlapping social
groups on summer range. An excess of heterozygosity occurred within groups
(F1s = 0.25) relative to that expected from Hardy-Weinberg proportions.
We suggest that the excess may be accounted for by a high turn-ver rate
among breeding males who lose their dominance between years. Genetic distances
among groups were associated with the location of the social group on winter
range. Groups that used the same winter range were more genetically similar
even though in the central Adirondacks deer primarily breed on their summer
range. We suggest that this association with winter range is due to the
traditional use of winter yards by matrilineal groups and is maintained
by female philopatry.