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Genetic contribution from a zoo population can increase genetic variation in the highly inbred wild Swedish wolf population
Stockholm University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Kolmarden Wildlife Pk, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Sweden.
2015 (English)In: Conservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621, E-ISSN 1572-9737, Vol. 16, no 6, 1501-1505 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Swedish wolf population (Canis lupus) descends from five individuals and is isolated and highly inbred with an average inbreeding coefficient of 0.27. In addition, inbreeding depression has led to reduced litter size and a high frequency of spinal disorders. To achieve the management goal of reducing the mean level of inbreeding, introductions into the wild population from a zoo conservation breeding program have been proposed by authorities. We used pedigree data of the wild and zoo populations to evaluate the extent to which the captive population can contribute genetic variation to the wild one. We measure genetic variation as founder alleles and founder genome equivalents. The two populations have three founders in common, but in spite of this common ancestry, our results show a potential to almost double genetic variation from 11.2 to 21.1 founder alleles. Similarly, the number of founder genome equivalents in the wild population can increase from the present 1.8 to 3.2, but this requires that almost 50 % of the wild gene pool consists of genes from the zoo population. Average kinship in the joint zoo and wild population is 0.15, which is above the management target of 0.1. Genetic contribution from the zoo has the potential to improve, but not solve, the genetically precarious situation of the wild population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2015. Vol. 16, no 6, 1501-1505 p.
Keyword [en]
Captive breeding; Pedigree analysis; Genetic rescue
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123058DOI: 10.1007/s10592-015-0738-9ISI: 000363957700019OAI: diva2:876662

Funding Agencies|Swedish Environmental Protection Agency; Swedish Research Council Formas

Available from: 2015-12-04 Created: 2015-12-03 Last updated: 2015-12-04

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Amundin, Mats
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