There is the one and only wolf species in North America

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    The first large study of North American wolf genomes has found that there is only one species on the continent: the gray wolf. Two other purported species, the Eastern wolf and the red wolf, are mixes of gray wolf and coyote DNA, the scientists behind the study concluded.
    The new finding highlights the shortcomings of laws intended to protect endangered species, as such laws lag far behind scientific research into the evolution of species. They also sharpen a scientific question at the heart of that debate: How should the Endangered Species Act address threatened animals that are hybrids?
    Bridgett M. vonHoldt of Princeton University and her colleagues sequenced the genomes of 12 gray wolves, six Eastern wolves, three red wolves and three coyotes, as well as the genomes of dogs and wolves from Asia.
    Dr. vonHoldt and her colleagues found no evidence that red wolves or Eastern wolves belonged to distinct lineages of their own. Instead, they seem to be populations of gray wolves, sharing many of the same genes.
    What really sets Eastern wolves and red wolves apart, the researchers found, is a large amount of coyote DNA in their genomes.
    joepistole likes this.

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