News News

On the path to extinction: inbreeding and admixture in a declining gray wolf population

Allee effects reduce the viability of small populations in many different ways, which act synergistically to lead populations towards extinction vortexes. The Sierra Morena wolf population, isolated in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and composed of just one or few packs for decades, represents a good example of how diverse threats act additively in very small populations. The genome of one of the last wolves identified (and road?killed) in Sierra Morena and that of another wolf in the Iberian Wolf Captive Breeding Program were sequenced, and compared with other wolf and dog genomes from around the world (including two previously published genome sequences from northern Iberian wolves). The results showed relatively low overall genetic diversity in Iberian wolves, but diverse population histories including past introgression of dog genes. The Sierra Morena wolf had an extraordinarily high level of inbreeding and long runs of homozygosity, resulting from the long isolation. In addition, about one third of the genome was of dog origin. Despite the introgression of dog genes, heterozygosity remained low because of continued inbreeding after several hybridization events. The results thus illustrate the case of a small and isolated wolf population where the low population density may have favored hybridization and introgression of dog alleles, but continued inbreeding may have resulted in large chromosomal fragments of wolf origin completely disappearing from the population, and being replaced by chromosomal fragments of dog origin. The latest population surveys suggest that this population may have gone extinct. informacion[at] Gómez?Sánchez et al (2018) On the path to extinction: inbreeding and admixture in a declining gray wolf population. Mol Ecol. DOI: 10.1111/mec.14824
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Avian malaria parasites reduce the survival of mosquitoes

Plasmodium transmission success depends upon the trade-off between the use of host resources to favour parasite reproduction and the negative effects on host health, which can be mediated by...

The invasive red swamp crayfish increases infection of the amphibian chytrid fungus

Chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is considered one of the most important causes for the decline of amphibian populations worldwide. Identifying potential biological...

“Planned obsolescence” in the plumage of larks

Larks (Alaudidae) present a heavily worn plumage for the most part of the annual cycle. Authors observed that lark feathers have unmelanized fringes and are prone to breakage. Larks may have turned...