Genetic analysis of historic western Great Lakes region wolf samples reveals early Canis lupus / lycaon hybridization Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The genetic status of wolves in the western Great Lakes region has received increased attention following the decision to remove them from protection under the US Endangered Species Act. A recent study of mitochondrial DNA has suggested that the recovered wolf population is not genetically representative of the historic population. We present microsatellite genotype data on three historic samples and compare them with extant populations, and interpret published genetic data to show that the pre-recovery population was admixed over a century ago by eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) and grey wolf (Canis lupus) hybridization. The DNA profiles of the historic samples are similar to those of extant animals in the region, suggesting that the current Great Lakes wolves are representative of the historic population.

publication date

  • February 23, 2009