National Wolfwatcher Coalition National Wolfwatcher Coalition
mobile menu

Resources » Genetics » A Unique Evolution

A Unique Evolution

Posted on

For most observers, the black wolves that roam Yellowstone National Park are animals to be admired as symbols of power and beauty, and appreciated for their role in maintaining the natural balance in the environment. For UCLA evolutionary biology professor Robert Wayne, North American black wolves represent something very different—an unprecedented evolution of a gene in the wild that had originated in domestic animals. Research by Wayne and his colleagues at the UCLA Conservation Genetics Resource Center indicates that black wolves inherited their dark coats from domesticated dogs, most likely dogs that lived with Native Americans approximately 12,000 years ago. How did Wayne, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and his fellow researchers identify the gene that causes the black coat and arrive at the estimate of when the gene crossed from dogs to wolves? The answer to that question involves a mix of old-fashioned detective work and sophisticated technology.

Document: Unique-Evolution.pdf  PDF icon

Author(s): Aaron Dalton

This entry was posted in Genetics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Wolf Paw Print