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Hybridization between Wolves and Dogs Hibridación entre Perros y Lobos

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Concern has been expressed that European populations of gray wolves (Canis lupus) have extensively hybridized with domestic dogs (C. familiaris). We reviewed and analyzed surveys of mitochondrial and biparentally inherited genetic markers in dogs and wild populations of wolf-like canids. Although dog-wolf hybrids have been observed in the wild, significant introgression of dog markers into wild wolf populations has not yet occurred. Our investigation suggests that hybridization may not be an important conservation concern even in small, endangered wolf populations near human settlements. The behavioral and physiological differences between domestic dogs and gray wolves may be sufficiently great such that mating is unlikely and hybrid offspring rarely survive to reproduce in the wild.

En algunas ocasiones se ha sugerido que las poblaciones europeas de lobos (Canis lupus) pueden estar profundamente hibridadas con perros domésticos (C. familiaris). Revisamos y analizamos estudios que utilizan marcadores genéticos mitocondriales y de herencia biparental en perros y poblaciones silvestres de cánidos del grupo del lobo. Aunque existen observaciones de híbridos entre perros y lobos en condiciones naturales, nunca se ha observado una significativa introducción de marcadores genéticos de perros en las poblaciones de lobos. Nuestra revisión sugiere que la hibridación puede no ser un problema importante ni tan sólo para la conservación de poblaciones de lobos pequeñas y amenazadas, cerca de asentamientos humanos. Las diferencias fisiológicas y de comportamiento entre perros y lobos pueden ser suficientemente grandes como para que su apareamiento sea improbable y los híbridos tengan escasas posibilidades de sobrevivir y reproducirse en libertad.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Department of Biology, University of California, 621 Circle Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095–1606, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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