University of Oulu

Räikkönen J, Vucetich JA, Vucetich LM, Peterson RO, Nelson MP (2013) What the Inbred Scandinavian Wolf Population Tells Us about the Nature of Conservation. PLoS ONE 8(6): e67218.

What the inbred Scandinavian wolf population tells us about the nature of conservation

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Author: Räikkonen, Jannikke1; Vucetich, John A.2; Vucetich, Leah M.2;
Organizations: 1Swedish Museum Nat Hist, Dept Contaminant Res, S-10405 Stockholm, Sweden.
2Michigan Technol Univ, Sch Forest Resources & Environm Sci, Houghton, MI 49931 USA.
3Oregon State Univ, Dept Forest Ecosyst & Soc, Corvallis, OR 97331 USA.
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2013
Publish Date: 2021-07-09


The genetic aspects of population health are critical, but frequently difficult to assess. Of concern has been the genetic constitution of Scandinavian wolves (Canis lupus), which represent an important case in conservation. We examined the incidence of different congenital anomalies for 171 Scandinavian wolves, including the immigrant founder female, born during a 32-year period between 1978 and 2010. The incidence of anomalies rose from 13% to 40% throughout the 32-year study period. Our ability to detect this increase was likely facilitated by having considered multiple kinds of anomaly. Many of the found anomalies are likely associated with inbreeding or some form of genetic deterioration. These observations have implications for understanding the conservation needs of Scandinavian wolves. Moreover, these observations and the history of managing Scandinavian wolves focus attention on a broader question, whether conservation is merely about avoiding extinction of remnant populations, or whether conservation also entails maintaining genetic aspects of population health.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 8
Issue: 6
Article number: e67218
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067218
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Funding was provided by the United States National Science Foundation Agency. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2013 Räikkönen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.