Bridgett vonHoldt / Weston Roundtable (Nov. 9, 2023)
The last known red wolves were captured in southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas in 1980 to establish a captive breeding population. We discover that red wolves bred with coyotes prior to their extinction in the wild, which transferred endangered genetics. Using genomics, we find coyote genomes containing red wolf ancestry. Further, much of this variation represents an ancestral pool of variation not found in the captive breeding program. We highlight the importance of admixed genomes as a reservoir of endangered species ancestry for innovative conservation efforts.
The Weston Roundtable is made possible by a generous donation from Roy F. Weston, a highly accomplished UW-Madison alumnus. Designed to promote a robust understanding of sustainability science, engineering, and policy, these interactive lectures are co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Office of Sustainability.