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2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 11:35am - 11:55am
The Identification Of Hybridization Between Red Wolves And Coyotes

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The Western North Carolina Nature Center (WNC-NC) offers a rehabilitative habitat for animals that are endemic to the Southern Appalachians. The facility is home to two male and two female red wolves (Canis rufus), an endangered canid. However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Red Wolf Recovery program, and the WNC-NC recognize that red wolves and coyotes (Canis latrans) can interbreed. The objective of our research was to determine if the WNC-NC red wolves are purebred or if they have hybridized with coyotes. Using molecular genetic testing is imperative, since using phenotype to identify hybrids can be ambiguous. After obtaining fur samples, we extracted total DNA from hair roots. PCR was used to test mitochondrial and y-DNA loci, and the products were visualized via gel electrophoresis imaging. Regions corresponding to the Y-chromosomal microsatellites and CYTB gene of mtDNA were amplified and sent off for sequencing. Both sequences were annotated using BLAST and compared to existing red wolf and coyote sequences on GenBank to determine the amount of hybridization. With our results, we hope to clarify the true maternal and paternal lineages of the red wolves. From there, the WNC-NC may or may not have to update their environmental licenses, as they could be housing an endangered pure bred red wolf.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 11:35am - 11:55am
038 Karpen Hall