Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1747–1765 | Cite as

Genetic outcomes of wolf recovery in the western Great Lakes states

  • Steven R. Fain
  • Dyan J. Straughan
  • Bruce F. Taylor
Research Article

Abstract

Conflicting interpretations of the influence of coyote hybridization on wolf recovery in the western Great Lakes (WGL) states have stemmed from disagreement over the systematics of North American wolves. Questions regarding their recovery status have resulted. We addressed these issues with phylogenetic and admixture analysis of DNA profiles of western wolves, WGL states wolves and Wisconsin coyotes developed from autosome and Y-chromosome microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA control region sequence. Hybridization was assessed by comparing the haplotypes exhibited by sympatric wolves and coyotes. Genetic variability and connectivity were also examined. These analyses support the recognition of Canis lycaon as a unique species of North American wolf present in the WGL states and found evidence of hybridization between C. lupus and C. lycaon but no evidence of recent hybridization with sympatric coyotes. The recolonized WGL states wolves are genetically similar to historical wolves from the region and should be considered restored.

Keywords

Endangered species recovery mtDNA Y-chromosome Autosomal microsatellites Genetic diversity Admixture analysis Hybridization Canis latrans Canis lupus Canis lycaon 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for the help of the many colleagues who have provided the wolf samples that this work is based upon, particularly Adrian Wydevan (WIDNR), Peter Gogan (NPS), Thomas Cooley (MIDNR), Dave Duncan (USFWS) and Ed Spoon (USFWS). We also thank Thomas Cooley (MIDNR), Paula Holahan (Univ of WI) and Nancy Thomas (WIDNR) for morphological characterization of some of the wolves in this study and Jennifer Leonard (Uppsala Univ) for providing sequence data that was invaluable for the confirmation of some of the haplotypes we identified. We also would like to thank Brian Hamlin and Doina Voin (USFWS) for laboratory and analytical assistance.

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Copyright information

© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven R. Fain
    • 1
  • Dyan J. Straughan
    • 1
  • Bruce F. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.National Fish and Wildlife Forensic LaboratoryAshlandUSA

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