Assessing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in canids, domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus), using pedigree data

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Department of Zoology, Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: Genetic variation is necessary to maintain the ability of wild and domestic populations to genetically adapt to changed selective pressures. When relationships among individuals are known, conservation genetic management can be based on statistical pedigree analysis. Such approaches have traditionally focused on wild animal conservation breeding in captivity. In this thesis, I apply pedigree-based techniques to domestic and wild animal populations, focusing on two canids – the domestic dog and the wild wolf.Main objectives include to 1) develop a means for making any pedigree fit the input requirements of the software Population Management x (PMx) and to use this program to 2) investigate rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in dog breeds, including possible correlations between recent inbreeding and health problems, 3) estimate effects on inbreeding of the 2010 hunt of the endangered Swedish wolf population, and to 4) evaluate the potential to genetically support this wolf population through cross-fostering releases of zoo bred pups from a conservation breeding program.Results include successfully developing the converter program mPed (Paper I) and applying both mPed and PMx to dog and wolf pedigrees. I found extensive loss of genetic variation and moderate rates of recent inbreeding in 26 dog breeds, but no major difference in these parameters between breeds classified as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy“ (Paper II). I found average inbreeding coefficients to more than double (from F=0.03 to 0.07) and founder genetic variation to decrease by c. 30 percent over the past few decades in traditional Swedish dog breeds identified as being of conservation concern (Paper IV). Hunting will make it less likely to reach genetically based Favourable Conservation Status criteria for the Swedish wild wolf population (Paper III), but release of zoo bred wolves through cross-fostering may potentially almost double founder genetic variation of this population (Paper V).