Mammal Research

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 63–69 | Cite as

Moderate genetic variability and no genetic structure within the European golden jackal (Canis aureus) population in Hungary

  • Szilvia Kusza
  • Krisztina Nagy
  • József Lanszki
  • Miklós Heltai
  • Csaba Szabó
  • Sylwia D. Czarnomska
Original Paper


Demography of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) was affected by various events in the past, but today jackal populations are increasing throughout Europe. Despite the fact that it is one of the most rapidly spreading mammals in Europe, previous genetic studies detected low genetic diversity among and within populations. The Hungarian landscape is not highly varied; however, it is in the middle of the country’s territory that the jackal’s number is significantly increasing. Therefore, the main goal of our research was to further investigate the genetic diversity and population structure of the Hungarian golden jackal population based on a larger sample size than in previous studies ever, expecting that individuals from genetically differentiated subpopulations might meet in the area studied. Seventy golden jackals from the most populated area, Western Hungary, were studied with regard to genetic variability, differentiation, and structure as revealed by 385-bp-long mitochondrial control region sequences and 10 nuclear canine microsatellite loci. There was no variation at all in the mtDNA CR sequences, and nuclear variability was low (average observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.348 and 0.447, respectively). Furthermore, no obvious genetic structuring was detected in the studied population using GENELAND and PCA analyses. The present regional genetic structure and diversity of the Hungarian golden jackal is consistent with the previous results; however, it is the first analysis based on a relatively large sample size. We concluded that further molecular genetic studies are needed with a more specific marker set to have more accurate knowledge on rate of hybridization and genetic structure in golden jackal populations across Hungary and Europe.


Canis aureus Microsatellite mtDNA Hungary Population structure 



The authors thank Kornél Ács, Zsolt Bende and other professional hunters for sample collection. Mohammad Reza Ashrafzadeh and Zoltán Bagi are thanked for technical help. The publication is supported by the EFOP-3.6.3-VEKOP-16-2017-00008 project. The project is co-financed by the European Union and the European Social Fund.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Szilvia Kusza
    • 1
  • Krisztina Nagy
    • 1
  • József Lanszki
    • 2
  • Miklós Heltai
    • 3
  • Csaba Szabó
    • 1
  • Sylwia D. Czarnomska
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Animal Science, Biotechnology and Nature ConservationUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  2. 2.Carnivore Ecology Research GroupKaposvár UniversityKaposvárHungary
  3. 3.Institute for Wildlife ConservationSzent István UniversityGödöllőHungary
  4. 4.Institute of Biochemistry and BiophysicsPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland

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