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Testing for Wolf-Coyote Hybridization in the Rocky Mountains Using Mitochondrial DNA

Kristine L. Pilgrim, Diane K. Boyd and Stephen H. Forbes
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 1998), pp. 683-689
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802344
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802344
Page Count: 7
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Testing for Wolf-Coyote Hybridization in the Rocky Mountains Using Mitochondrial DNA
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Abstract

Hybridization between gray wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) has been documented in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada but has not been extensively studied in the Rocky Mountain region. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to evaluate potential gray wolf-coyote hybridization in wolf populations in the western United States, Alberta, and British Columbia, including wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and central Idaho. A restriction site and a length difference in the control region (D-loop) of mtDNA was used to differentiate wolf and coyote haplotypes. All 90 wolves tested had wolf haplotypes. We concluded that the wolf populations in the Rocky Mountain region have not hybridized with coyotes as they have in the Great Lakes region. This method could be used to test other wolf populations for wolf-coyote hybridization and monitor the translocated YNP and Idaho populations in the future.

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