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Techniques are described that define contiguous genetic subpopulations of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) based on the spatial dispersion of 4,749 individuals that possessed discrete character values (alleles or genotypes) during each of 6 years (1974-1979). White-tailed deer were not uniformly distributed in space, but exhibited considerable spatial genetic structuring. Significant non-random clusters of individuals were documented during each year based on specific alleles and genotypes at the Sdh locus. Considerable temporal variation was observed in the position and genetic composition of specific clusters, which reflected changes in allele frequency in small geographic areas. The position of clusters did not consistently correspond with traditional management boundaries based on major discontinuities in habitat (swamp versus upland) and hunt compartments that were defined by roads and streams. Spatio-temporal stability of observed genetic contiguous clusters was interpreted relative to method and intensity of harvest, movements, and breeding ecology.
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Spatial and temporal variability of microgeographic genetic structure in white-tailed deer