Differentiation of the Italian wolf and the domestic dog based on microsatellite analysis
The Italian wolf is in the process of regaining the Alpine region which comes into conflict with the extensive sheep keeping practiced in Switzerland during the summer. As in Switzerland, the wolf is a protected species, the government reimburses losses caused by wolves. Therefore we wanted to know whether the Italian wolf could be distinguished from the domestic dog by microsatellite analysis if DNA samples of the predators could be secured. The evaluation of combined genotypes for the microsatellites CanBern6, CPH4, CPH7, CPH9, CPH12, CPH22 and ZuBeCa1 made it possible to identify an individual as either a domestic dog or an Italian wolf. The assignment of an individual to either one of the two populations is based on the logarithm of the likelihood ratio of an individual being an Italian wolf rather than a domestic dog, given a specific combined genotype. The distribution of the Italian wolf combined genotypes (n = 42) is clearly distinct from the distribution of the domestic dog combined genotypes (n = 90). The likelihood ratio for the "worst" Italian wolf combined genotype was 2.3 E+5 and for the "worst" domestic dog combined genotype was 3.8 E-5.
KeywordsItalian wolf domestic dog microsatellite genotype likelihood ratio
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