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Biologists solve mystery of black wolves
Date:2/5/2009

yne said. "We then examine the genes near those markers and identify candidates that may be responsible for the specific trait. Our hope is that we will find the genetic basis for traits having to do with behavior, speed, longevity or fecundity all these traits that we measure in wild populations, but we do not yet understand their genetic basis."

Yellowstone is home to the wolf population about which the most is known, Wayne said. Their behavior and reproduction have been well studied, including by one of Wayne's graduate students, Daniel Stahler, a co-author of the Science paper who works as a biologist for the Yellowstone National Park Gray Wolf Restoration Project.

"The wolves of Yellowstone represent an unparalleled population for studying the inheritance of traits," Wayne said. "In Yellowstone, we have followed very precisely the inheritance of coat color throughout the entire wolf population and document that coat color is a trait inherited with just one gene involved, with two forms one causing white and one causing black. This is the most comprehensive genealogical analysis of a North American carnivore population ever undertaken."


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Contact: Stuart Wolpert
swolpert@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0511
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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