University of Oulu

Smeds, L, Aspi, J, Berglund, J, Kojola, I, Tirronen, K, Ellegren, H. Whole‐genome analyses provide no evidence for dog introgression in Fennoscandian wolf populations. Evol Appl. 2021; 14: 721– 734.

Whole‐genome analyses provide no evidence for dog introgression in Fennoscandian wolf populations

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Author: Smeds, Linnéa1; Aspi, Jouni2; Berglund, Jonas1;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
2Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Rovaniemi, Finland
4Institute of Biology, Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science, Petrozavodsk, Russian Federation
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2020-11-11


Hybridization and admixture can threaten the genetic integrity of populations and be of particular concern to endangered species. Hybridization between grey wolves and dogs has been documented in many wolf populations worldwide and is a prominent example of human‐mediated hybridization between a domesticated species and its wild relative. We analysed whole‐genome sequences from >200 wolves and >100 dogs to study admixture in Fennoscandian wolf populations. A principal component analysis of genetic variation and Admixture showed that wolves and dogs were well‐separated, without evidence for introgression. Analyses of local ancestry revealed that wolves had <1% mixed ancestry, levels comparable to the degree of mixed ancestry in many dogs, and likely not resulting from recent wolf–dog hybridization. We also show that the founders of the Scandinavian wolf population were genetically inseparable from Finnish and Russian Karelian wolves, pointing at the geographical origin of contemporary Scandinavian wolves. Moreover, we found Scandinavian‐born animals among wolves sampled in Finland, demonstrating bidirectional gene flow between the Scandinavian Peninsula and eastern countries. The low incidence of admixture between wolves and dogs in Fennoscandia may be explained by the fact that feral dogs are rare in this part of Europe and that careful monitoring and management act to remove hybrids before they backcross into wolf populations.

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Series: Evolutionary applications
ISSN: 1752-4563
ISSN-E: 1752-4571
ISSN-L: 1752-4563
Volume: 14
Issue: 3
Pages: 721 - 734
DOI: 10.1111/eva.13151
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: Funding for this project was obtained from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council to H.E.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.