Genetic diversity and relatedness among captive african painted dogs in north america

Cassandra M. Miller-Butterworth, Karen Vacco, Amy L. Russell, Joseph C. Gaspard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


African painted dogs (Lycaon pictus, APD) are highly endangered, with fewer than 7000 remaining in nature. Captive breeding programs can preserve a genetically diverse population and provide a source of individuals for reintroductions. However, most programs are initiated from few founders and suffer from low genetic diversity and inbreeding. The aims of this study were to use molecular markers to assess genetic variation, inbreeding, and relatedness among APDs in the North American captive population, to use these data to realign studbook records, and to compare these data to wild populations and to the European captive population to facilitate the development of a global management plan. We sequenced mitochondrial and major histocompatibility (MHC) class II loci and genotyped 14 microsatellite loci from 109 APDs from 34 institutions in North America. We identified three likely studbook errors and resolved ten cases of uncertain paternity. Overall, microsatellite heterozygosity was higher than reported in Europe, but effective population size estimates were lower. Mitochondrial sequence variation was extremely limited, and there were fewer MHC haplotypes than in Europe or the wild. Although the population did not show evidence of significant inbreeding overall, several individuals shared high relatedness values, which should be incorporated into future breeding programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1463
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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