Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wolves are suffering less from inbreeding than expected

21.12.2006
Increasing levels of inbreeding is a threat against the viabi lity of the Scandinavian wolf population. A study just coming out in the new journal PLoS ONE now demonstrates that inbreeding is not affecting the wolves as badly as expected.

The results show that it is the most genetically variable wolf individuals that are recruited into the breeding population. An important consequence of this action of natural selection is that the negative effects of inbreeding are accumulating much slower than previously believed.

The wolf was exterminated in the Scandinavian peninsula by the 1960-ies. The present Scandinavian population of approximately 150 animals was founded by three immigrants from the larger Russian-Finnish population; a pair around 1980 and a single male ten years later. With so few individuals founding the population the level of inbreeding is high. By the use of DNA-analyses the research team has previously reconstructed a pedigree of the whole population. This kind of detailed information about wild animals is quite unique, but a necessary prerequisite for calculations of so called inbreeding coefficients.

- The inbreeding coefficient is a measure of the proportion of the DNA that is inbred. It varies between 0 and 100%. If a brother and sister are mating, their offspring will have an inbreeding coefficient of 25%. This is about the average level for the present wolf population in Scandinavia. And our analyses have shown that inbreeding is negative, inbred wolves produce less number of pups, says Staffan Bensch, one of the spokespersons of the research team..

The inbreeding coefficients are calculated from the sorted out pedigree. Another way to estimate the proportion of the DNA that is inbred is with DNA-techniques. The research team used samples from blood, hair and scats and examined the DNA at several places to measure the level of genetic variation of individuals. Together with the previous analyses based on inbreeding coefficients the new direct m easures of genetic variation delivered some surprising results.

- For each level of inbreeding it appears to be the wolves with the highest amount of genetic variation that establish themselves as breeders, Staffan Bensch concludes. Whether this is because the genetically diverse wolves are more healthy and stronger and thus more likely to become reproductively active, or if they are more preferred as mates by the opposite sex, we do not know.

- Even if selection is favouring the wolves that are genetically diverse, genetic variation will inevitably be lost over time in such a small population as this one. But it will take much longer than previously thought. This is an important observation since if novel genes are added by introducing a new wolf from a nearby population, the positive effects will be maintained longer than previously estimated.

- We think our results are relevant also for other threatened populations of carnivores. Such spe cies require large areas for their territories and most natural reserves are of a size in which only a few territories can be accommodated. Without immigration inbreeding will increase. If the pattern seen in the Scandinavian wolf population holds to be general, active introductions is only required to be done at rather long intervals in order to maintain the genetic variation of populations.

The study has been carried out by Swedish and Norwegian researchers lead by Staffan Bensch (Lund University, Sweden) and Olof Liberg (Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Sweden) as a part of the SKANDULV project (http://skandulv.nina.no/skandulv%20new/STARTSIDER/START%20ENGLISH/index_english.htm).

Staffan Bensch | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

Further reports about: Scandinavian coefficient genetic variation inbreeding

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the information processing of motor neurons

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks

22.02.2017 | Innovative Products

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>