Ecological factors influence population genetic structure of European grey wolves

Pilot, Malgorzata, Jedrzejewski, W., Branicki, W. , Sidorovich, V. E., Jedrzejewska, B., Stachura, K. and Funk, S. M. (2006) Ecological factors influence population genetic structure of European grey wolves. Molecular Ecology, 15 (14). pp. 4533-4553. ISSN 0962-1083

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Although the mechanisms controlling gene flow among populations are particularly important for evolutionary processes, they are still poorly understood, especially in the case of large carnivoran mammals with extensive continuous distributions. We studied the question of factors affecting population genetic structure in the grey wolf, Canis lupus, one of the most mobile terrestrial carnivores. We analysed variability in mitochondrial DNA and 14 microsatellite loci for a sample of 643 individuals from 59 localities representing most of the continuous wolf range in Eastern Europe. We tested an array of geographical, historical and ecological factors to check whether they may explain genetic differentiation among local wolf populations. We showed that wolf populations in Eastern Europe displayed nonrandom spatial genetic structure in the absence of obvious physical barriers to movement. Neither topographic barriers nor past fragmentation could explain spatial genetic structure. However, we found that the genetic differentiation among local populations was correlated with climate, habitat types, and wolf diet composition. This result shows that ecological processes may strongly influence the amount of gene flow among populations. We suggest natal-habitat-biased dispersal as an underlying mechanism linking population ecology with population genetic structure. © 2006 The Authors.

Keywords:microsatellite DNA, mitochondrial DNA, animal, article, ecosystem, Europe, genetic variability, genetics, geography, haplotype, phylogeny, population genetics, wolf, Animals, DNA, Mitochondrial, Genetics, Population, Haplotypes, Microsatellite Repeats, Variation (Genetics), Wolves, Canidae, Canis familiaris, Canis lupus, Mammalia
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C400 Genetics
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:9352
Deposited On:13 May 2013 09:14

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