Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-10-2018

Abstract

Rediscovering species once thought to be extinct or on the edge of extinction is rare. Red wolves have been extinct along the American Gulf Coast since 1980, with their last populations found in coastal Louisiana and Texas. We report the rediscovery of red wolf ghost alleles in a canid population on Galveston Island, Texas. We analyzed over 7000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 60 canid representatives from all legally recognized North American Canis species and two phenotypically ambiguous canids from Galveston Island. We found notably high Bayesian cluster assignments of the Galveston canids to captive red wolves with extensive sharing of red wolf private alleles. Today, the only known extant wild red wolves persist in a reintroduced population in North Carolina, which is dwindling amongst political and taxonomic controversy. Our rediscovery of red wolf ancestry after almost 40 years introduces both positive opportunities for additional conservation action and difficult policy challenges.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9120618

Publication Title

Genes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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