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

ypothesis 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.


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

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