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Concept: Red Deer


Schmallenberg virus was detected in cattle and sheep in northwestern Europe in 2011. To determine whether wild ruminants are also susceptible, we measured antibody seroprevalence in cervids (roe deer and red deer) in Belgium in 2010 and 2011. Findings indicated rapid spread among these deer since virus emergence ≈250 km away.

Concepts: Elk, Antler, Roe Deer, Red Deer, Ruminant, Deer


After centuries of range contraction, many megafauna species are recolonizing parts of Europe. One example is the red deer (Cervus elaphus), which was able to expand its range and is now found in half the areas it inhabited in the beginning of the 19th century. Herbivores are important ecosystem engineers, influencing e.g. vegetation. Knowledge on their habitat selection and their influence on ecosystems might be crucial for future landscape management, especially for hybrid and novel ecosystems emerging in post-industrial landscapes. In this study, red deer habitat selection was studied in a former brown-coal mining area in Denmark. Here, natural settings were severely changed during the mining activity and its current landscape is in large parts managed by hunters as suitable deer habitat. We assessed red deer habitat preferences through feces presence and camera traps combined with land cover data from vegetation sampling, remote sensing and official geographic data. Red deer occurrence was negatively associated with human disturbance and positively associated with forage availability, tree cover and mean terrain height. Apparently, red deer are capable of recolonizing former industrial landscapes quite well if key conditions such as forage abundance and cover are appropriate. In the absence of carnivores, human disturbance, such as a hunting regime is a main reason why deer avoid certain areas. The resulting spatial heterogeneity red deer showed in their habitat use of the study area might be a tool to preserve mosaic landscapes of forest and open habitats and thus promote biodiversity in abandoned post-industrial landscapes.

Concepts: Ecosystem, Remote sensing, Ecological succession, Elk, Red Deer, Landscape ecology, Deer


Deer antler velvet is widely used as a vitalizing, tonifying, haemopoietic and strengthening agent for debilitated persons in East Asia. To develop a rapid and sensitive method for the identification of the biological source or origin in antler velvet products, a molecular approach was applied using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. The cytochrome b gene sequences of nine cervidae species were analyzed, and a Dde I restriction endonuclease recognition site was found only in sika deer and red deer, the official origin of deer velvet in Chinese pharmacopoeia. A specific primer was designed, and rapid PCR amplified products were subjected to restriction digestion using a fast RFLP procedure. Sika deer and red deer showed two bands of 161 and 102 bp, in contrast to the undigested state of 263 from other antlers. The established PCR-RFLP method was applied in commercial velvet products, and a high frequency of substitution (50%) was revealed in collected commercial samples. The method was successful in detecting contaminated and adulterated antler products in Chinese patent drugs, and the whole detection process was accomplished within 1-1.5 h.

Concepts: Moose, Elk, Molecular biology, Reindeer, Sika Deer, Antler, Red Deer, Deer


Zooarchaeological and paleoecological investigations have traditionally been unable to reconstruct the ethology of herd animals, which likely had a significant influence on the mobility and subsistence strategies of prehistoric humans. In this paper, we reconstruct the migratory behavior of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and caprids at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the northeastern Adriatic region using stable oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel. The data show a significant change in δ18O values from the Pleistocene into the Holocene, as well as isotopic variation between taxa, the case study sites, and through time. We then discuss the implications of seasonal faunal availability as determining factors in human mobility patterns.

Concepts: Horse, Red Deer, Isotope analysis, Oxygen isotope ratio cycle, Elk, Human, Prehistory, Deer


TO THE EDITOR: In a recently published study, Estrada-Peña et al. reported the finding of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) in adult Hyalomma lusitanicum ticks from red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Spain during 2010 (1). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the virus was most likely of African origin. Here, we present a model for the transfer of CCHFV-infected ticks by migratory birds from Africa to Europe.

Concepts: Red Deer, Viral hemorrhagic fever


The gut microbiota is characterized as a complex ecosystem that has effects on health and diseases of host with the interactions of many other factors together. Sika deer is the national level for the protection of wild animals in China. The available sequencing data of gut microbiota from feces of wild sika deer, especially for Cervus nippon hortulorum in Northeast China, are limited. Here, we characterized the gastrointestinal bacterial communities of wild (7 samples) and captive (12 samples) sika deer from feces, and compared their gut microbiota by analyzing the V3-V4 region of 16S rRNA gene using high-throughput sequencing technology on the Illumina Hiseq platform. Firmicutes (77.624%), Bacteroidetes (18.288%) and Tenericutes (1.342%) were the most predominant phyla in wild sika deer. While in captive sika deer, Firmicutes (50.710%) was the dominant phylum, followed by Bacteroidetes (31.996%) and Proteobacteria (4.806%). A total of 9 major phyla, 22 families and 30 genera among gastrointestinal bacterial communities showed significant differences between wild and captive sika deer. The specific function and mechanism of Tenericutes in wild sika deer need further study. Our results indicated that captive sika deer in farm had higher fecal bacterial diversity than the wild. Abundance and quantity of diet source for sika deer played crucial role in shaping the composition and structure of gut microbiota.

Concepts: Microbiology, Red Deer, Ribosomal RNA, Deer, Sika Deer, 16S ribosomal RNA, Bacteria, Gut flora


Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is the only fully domesticated species in the Cervidae family, and is the only cervid with a circumpolar distribution. Unlike all other cervids, female reindeer regularly grow cranial appendages (antlers, the defining characteristics of cervids), as well as males. Moreover, reindeer milk contains more protein and less lactose than bovids' milk. A high quality reference genome of this species will assist efforts to elucidate these and other important features in the reindeer.

Concepts: Red Deer, Moose, Domestication, Elk, Capreolinae, Antler, Deer, Reindeer


High density linkage maps are an important tool to gain insight into the genetic architecture of traits of evolutionary and economic interest, and provide a resource to characterise variation in recombination landscapes. Here, we used information from the cattle genome and the 50K Cervine Illumina BeadChip to inform and refine a high density linkage map in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus). We constructed a predicted linkage map of 38,038 SNPs and a skeleton map of 10,835 SNPs across 34 linkage groups. We identified several chromosomal rearrangements in the deer lineage relative to sheep and cattle, including six chromosome fissions, one fusion and two large inversions. Otherwise, our findings showed strong concordance with map orders in the cattle genome. The sex-averaged linkage map length was 2739.7cM and the genome-wide autosomal recombination rate was 1.04cM per Mb. The female autosomal map length was 1.21 longer than that of males (2767.4cM vs 2280.8cM, respectively). Sex differences in map length were driven by high female recombination rates in peri-centromeric regions, a pattern that is unusual relative to other mammal species. This effect was more pronounced in fission chromosomes that would have had to produce new centromeres. We propose two hypotheses to explain this effect: (1) that this mechanism may have evolved to counteract centromeric drive associated with meiotic asymmetry in oocyte production; and/or (2) that sequence and structural characteristics suppressing recombination in close proximity to the centromere may not have yet evolved at neo-centromeres. Our study provides insight into how recombination landscapes vary and evolve in mammals, and will provide a valuable resource for studies of evolution, genetic improvement and population management in red deer and related species.

Concepts: Red Deer, Sex, Elk, Deer, Mammal, Gene, DNA, Chromosome


Bone and antler collagen δ(13) C and δ(15) N values are often assumed to be equivalent when measured in palaeodietary, palaeoclimate and palaeocological studies. Although compositionally similar, bone grows slowly and is remodelled whereas antler growth is rapid and remodelling does not occur. These different patterns of growth could result in isotopic difference within antler and between the two tissue types. Here we test whether red deer (Cervus elaphus) bone and antler δ(13) C and δ(15) N values are equivalent, and whether intra-antler isotopic values are uniform.

Concepts: Elk, Red Deer, Antler, Deer


In the last years several phylogeographic studies of both extant and extinct red deer populations have been conducted. Three distinct mitochondrial lineages (western, eastern and North-African/Sardinian) have been identified reflecting different glacial refugia and postglacial recolonisation processes. However, little is known about the genetics of the Alpine populations and no mitochondrial DNA sequences from Alpine archaeological specimens are available. Here we provide the first mitochondrial sequences of an Alpine Copper Age Cervus elaphus. DNA was extracted from hair shafts which were part of the remains of the clothes of the glacier mummy known as the Tyrolean Iceman or Ötzi (5,350-5,100 years before present). A 2,297 base pairs long fragment was sequenced using a mixed sequencing procedure based on PCR amplifications and 454 sequencing of pooled amplification products. We analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of the Alpine Copper Age red deer’s haplotype with haplotypes of modern and ancient European red deer. The phylogenetic analyses showed that the haplotype of the Alpine Copper Age red deer falls within the western European mitochondrial lineage in contrast with the current populations from the Italian Alps belonging to the eastern lineage. We also discussed the phylogenetic relationships of the Alpine Copper Age red deer with the populations from Mesola Wood (northern Italy) and Sardinia.

Concepts: Biology, Molecular biology, Deer, Italy, Red Deer, DNA