Analysis shows Southeast Alaska wolves aren’t subspecies
December 08, 2014
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Professor Matthew Cronin has published a paper in the Journal of Heredity concluding that Southeast Alaska’s wolves are not a separate subspecies.
“My study provides extensive genetic data. That, along with literature published by other scientists, does not support the assertion that these wolves are a subspecies,” University of Alaska Fairbanks' Professor Cronin said.
The Enigma of the Southeast Alaska Wolf
Wolves are mysterious, beautiful and such a rarity to view. In September 2013, six were sighted together north of Ketchikan and a couple looked back briefly before running off, just long enough for a quick photograph.
File photograph by JIM LEWIS ©2013
Cronin said, “This is noteworthy because the wolves in Southeast Alaska are being considered for listing as endangered subspecies. The Alexander Archipelago wolf and the wolves on Prince of Wales Island are currently being considered for listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
“There is considerable differentiation of wolves in Southeast Alaska from wolves in other areas,” Cronin said. “However, wolves in Southeast Alaska are not a genetically homogenous group, and there are comparable levels of genetic differentiation among areas within Southeast Alaska and between Southeast Alaska and other geographic areas.”
This wolf was photographed in April 2004 close to North Tongass Highway at approximately 17 miles north of Ketchikan.
File photograph by CARL THOMPSON ©2004
Cronin conducted DNA tests and reviewed published findings on wolf genetics. “They do not support recognition of the wolves in Southeast Alaska as a distinct subspecies,” he said.
The results also show the wolves on Prince of Wales Island are not highly differentiated compared to other populations in Southeast Alaska, which Cronin said indicates they do not warrant recognition as a distinct population segment.
The paper, titled “Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Variation of Wolves in Southeast Alaska and Comparison with Wolves, Dogs and Coyotes in North America,” was written by Cronin and University of California Davis colleagues.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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On the Web:
Journal of Heredity Science: Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Variation of Wolves (Canis lupus) in Southeast Alaska and Comparison with Wolves, Dogs, and Coyotes in North America J Hered first published online November 26, 2014 - Subscription Required
Abstract is Free - Journal of Heredity Science: Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Variation of Wolves (Canis lupus) in Southeast Alaska and Comparison with Wolves, Dogs, and Coyotes in North America J Hered first published online November 26, 2014
Source of News:
UAF’s School of Natural Resources and Extension.
Matthew Cronin is a research professor in the Palmer office of UAF’s School of Natural Resources and Extension.
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