Conservation Genetics Resources

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 163–165 | Cite as

An allelic discrimination SNP assay for distinguishing the mitochondrial lineages of European wildcats and domestic cats

  • Ross McEwingEmail author
  • Andrew C. Kitchener
  • Clare Holleley
  • Kerry Kilshaw
  • Paul O’Donoghue
Technical Note


Here we present an allelic discrimination assay designed to distinguish European wildcat mtDNA lineages from those of the domestic cat. Introgression between the native wildcat and introduced domestic cat has the potential to limit and reduce the recent recovery of remnant populations. Applied conservation genetic techniques can aid current conservation decisions on lethal control and neutering measures in hybrid zones. This real-time PCR technique offers a rapid, inexpensive and reliable assay to assess mtDNA introgression in the wild and has already identified hybrid individuals in the Scottish wildcat captive breeding programme.


Wildcat SNP Introgression Felis silvestris 



The authors are grateful to Neville Buck, Douglas Richardson, David Hetherington, Steve Piper and Rob Ogden. The work was funded by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross McEwing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew C. Kitchener
    • 2
  • Clare Holleley
    • 3
  • Kerry Kilshaw
    • 4
  • Paul O’Donoghue
    • 5
  1. 1.WildGenes LaboratoryRoyal Zoological Society of ScotlandEdinburghScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of Natural SciencesNational Museum of ScotlandEdinburghScotland, UK
  3. 3.Laboratory of Genomic DiversityNational Cancer InstituteFrederickUSA
  4. 4.Department of Zoology, Wildlife Conservation Research UnitUniversity of OxfordOxfordshireUK
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of ChesterChesterUK

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