Navigation Links
Genetic study clarifies evolutionary origin of elusive montane red fox
Date:5/20/2011

North American red foxes originated from two separate genetic lineages that were isolated from each other by glaciers some half a million years ago, according to a U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station study.

The researchfeatured in the April/May 2011 issue of Science Findings, a monthly publication of the stationcan assist efforts aimed at conserving potentially imperiled montane populations of the species.

"When most people think of the red fox, they envision the ones that thrive in low-elevation, human-dominated landscapes," said Keith Aubry, a research wildlife biologist at the station who led the study. "But there are other extremely elusive and rarely seen populations that live only in isolated alpine and subalpine areas in the mountains of the Western United States."

The latter groupthe montane red foxesmay be imperiled by climate change and other contemporary pressures and were the focus of Aubry's doctoral work in the early 1980s. Contrary to prevailing theory at the time, Aubry hypothesized that native North American red foxes were descended from two distinct lineages, not one, that were isolated from each other in both northern and southern ice-free areas during the most recent Ice Age. Such an evolutionary history would help explain the unique ecological adaptations of the montane foxes, and why native red foxes in southern British Columbia are so much bigger than the montane foxes that occupy nearly adjacent areas in Washington's Cascade Range.

"If all of North America's foxes originated from a single lineage that had expanded its distribution in a wave across the continent, you'd expect to see a more or less continuous gradient in size," Aubry said. "But there was an abrupt discontinuity in size in that area, suggesting that the montane red foxes had evolved in isolation from the northern populations," Aubry said.

Only recently were Aubry and his colleagues able to test this hypothesis through genetic analyses of 285 museum specimens and a close examination of fossil, archeological, historical, and ecological records. They found that North American red foxes did, indeed, stem from two distinct lineages that diverged from each other while they were isolated in both the southern and northern parts of the continent during the last Ice Age. Moreover, Aubry suspects that montane foxes' smaller size and high-elevation habitat preference is indicative of their being descendants of ancient foxes that had inhabited the southern part of the continent.

With knowledge of the evolutionary history and genetics of the North American red fox, managers can distinguish native from nonnative populations and can clarify genetic relationships among subspeciesknowledge that, in turn, can be used to target conservation efforts to the appropriate gene pool.


'/>"/>

Contact: Yasmeen Sands
ysands@fs.fed.us
360-753-7716
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nottingham scientists reveal genetic wiring of seeds
2. New project will collect vital knowledge about tree genetic resources to support conservation
3. Zebrafish models identify high-risk genetic features in leukemia patients
4. In a genetic research first, Mayo Clinic turns zebrafish genes off and on
5. MARC travel awards announced for GSA Mouse Genetics Conference
6. Climbers leave rare plants genetic variation on the rocks
7. Scripps Research scientists create new genetic model of premature aging diseases
8. Mutant mouse reveals new wrinkle in genetic code, say UCSF scientists
9. GW researchers reveal 18 novel subtype-dependent genetic variants for autism spectrum disorders and identify potential genetic markers for diagnostic screening
10. Plant hormone auxin triggers a genetic switch
11. Genetic mutation linked to lethal disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016   ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited ... of its soon to be launched online site for ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders a ... DNA technology to an industry that is notorious for ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... , March 17, 2016 ABI ... intelligence, forecasts the global biometrics market will reach ... impressive 118% increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly ... embedded fingerprint sensors anticipated to reach two billion ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences (“ProMIS” ... first three targets, it has identified a fourth in a series of novel ... development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). , “This discovery is ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... 4, 2016  Bayer today announced that a ... ® (regorafenib) tablets for the treatment of ... its primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement ... the efficacy and safety of regorafenib in patients ... with sorafenib. The safety and tolerability were generally ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... biotechnology to help treat hormonal and stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas ... hearts of key opinion leaders in the medical and salon channels nationwide. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 ... ... communities will gather at Boston CEO 2016 on May 31st and June 1st ... off-the-record networking forum for leading executives in the life sciences, offering exclusive access ...
Breaking Biology Technology: