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:11/15/2016)... 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... on the gut microbiome, today announced the pricing ... of its common stock and warrants to purchase ... price to the public of $1.00 per share ... from the offering, excluding the proceeds, if any ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... , Nov. 14, 2016  Based on ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics ... Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics ... biometric identification market by pioneering In Motion ... for instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. This ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016   Acuant , the leading ... has partnered with RightCrowd ® to ... Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce Assurance. ... functional enhancements to existing physical access control ... with an automated ID verification and authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... event is expanding to three days and will take place on February 1-3, 2017 ... (GSK) and Dr James Gulley (NCI), the program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... biotechnology companies dedicated to collaboratively developing improved chemistry, manufacturing and control technologies ... portable online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based sampling. , Online liquid chromatography ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... December 2, 2016 The immunohistochemistry (IHC) ... at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period of 2016 ... diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry (IHC) ... , ... global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 companies ...
(Date:11/30/2016)...  GenomOncology today announced the appointment of Joshua F. ... Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical content development and ... The GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists with a seamless ... decision support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: