Origin and status of the Great Lakes wolf

Mol Ecol. 2009 Jun;18(11):2313-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04176.x. Epub 2009 Apr 2.


An extensive debate concerning the origin and taxonomic status of wolf-like canids in the North American Great Lakes region and the consequences for conservation politics regarding these enigmatic predators is ongoing. Using maternally, paternally and biparentally inherited molecular markers, we demonstrate that the Great Lakes wolves are a unique population or ecotype of gray wolves. Furthermore, we show that the Great Lakes wolves experienced high degrees of ancient and recent introgression of coyote and western gray wolf mtDNA and Y-chromosome haplotypes, and that the recent demographic bottleneck caused by persecution and habitat depletion in the early 1900s is not reflected in the genetic data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Coyotes / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • Great Lakes Region
  • Haplotypes
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity
  • Wolves / classification
  • Wolves / genetics*
  • Y Chromosome / genetics


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Genetic Markers