Oct 25, 2018

The Sicilian wolf: genetic identity of a recently extinct insular population

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Francesco Maria AngeliciElisabetta Cilli


During historical times many local populations of grey wolf (Canis lupus), once the most diffused mammal in the world, became extinct. Among these the Sicilian population, the biggest island of the Mediterranean Sea, was eradicated by human persecution in the early decades of the XX century. In order to reconstruct the genetic identity of the Sicilian wolf, we used ancient DNA techniques to analyse the mitochondrial DNA of the six known specimens actually stored in museums. We have successfully extracted and amplified a mtDNA fragment of the control region (CR) from four samples. Our analyses show that two samples have the same haplotype, that differs by two substitutions from the most diffused Italian haplotype (W14) and one substitution from the second Italian rare haplotype (W16). One of the others two samples shows a new wolf haplotype never described before and the fourth a haplotype common in dogs. Furthermore, all the detected wolf haplotypes in this study belonged to the mitochondrial haplogroup to which the Pleistocene European wolves and several current southern Europe haplotypes belong. Unfortunately, this endemic population of Mediterranean wolf, was definitively lost before it has been possible to understand its un...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

DNA, Mitochondrial
Ancient DNA
Canis lupus
Insula of Reil

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