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Genetic variation and parentage in the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis

Hook, Samantha Alison 2015, Genetic variation and parentage in the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis , MSc by research thesis, University of Salford.

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The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is among the most endangered canids in the world, with only 300-500 individuals left in the wild. The most severe threats for the remaining populations are habitat fragmentation, hybridisation with domestic dogs, and diseases (rabies and canine distemper virus). The present MSc by Research applies DNA fingerprinting (microsatellite genotyping) based on existing faecal samples collected between 2007 and 2010 to (i) determine the standing amount of genetic variation after recent rabies outbreaks, (ii) reveal the family structure within and between packs using genetic parentage analysis, comparing the obtained results with existing data from field observations and (iii) investigate the effects of recent rabies outbreaks on the genetics of the population. In total, 43 individuals were successfully characterised based on seven microsatellite loci, demonstrating that faecal samples collected several years before analysis are a valuable source for DNA. This is approximately between 10% and 20% of the total population of Ethiopian wolves. Parentage through software analysis in Colony found posterior probabilities of no less than 1.00 for all six offspring individuals analysed. The parentage assignments revealed that offspring regularly moved between packs, which may be attributed to the loss of individuals through rabies during the period of investigation. Analysis found through Coancestry determined that four out of six pairs of parents were above the mean pair-wise relatedness coefficient. It was found that inbreeding avoidance was not a contributing factor to producing offspring in the population. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of the social system of the Ethiopian wolf, document the consequence of disease outbreaks to pack structure, and should be useful to devise future in-situ management plans towards stabilising the existing amount of genetic variation.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc by research)
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Samantha Alison Hook
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 14:32
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2016 14:32

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