Molecular evolution of the dog family

Trends Genet. 1993 Jun;9(6):218-24. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(93)90122-x.


Molecular genetic tools have been used to dissect the evolutionary relationships of the dog-like carnivores, revealing their place in the order Carnivora, the relationships of species within the family Canidae, and the genetic exchange that occurs among conspecific populations. High rates of gene flow among populations within some species, such as the coyote and gray wolf, have suppressed genetic divergence, and where these species hybridize, large hybrid zones have been formed. In fact, the phenotype of the endangered American red wolf may be strongly influenced by hybridization with coyotes and gray wolves. Hybridization and habitat fragmentation greatly complicate plans to conserve the genetic diversity of wild canids.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Carnivora / classification
  • Carnivora / genetics*
  • Dogs / classification
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Foxes / classification
  • Foxes / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hybridization, Genetic