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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

The genetic structure of the Lithuanian wolf population

Baltrunaite L, Balciauskas L, Åkesson M


Lithuanian wolves form part of the larger Baltic population, the distribution of which is continuous across the region. In this paper, we evaluate the genetic diversity of the Lithuanian wolf population using mitochondrial DNA analysis and 29 autosomal microsatellite loci. Analysis of the mtDNA control region (647 bp) revealed 5 haplotypes distributed among 29 individuals and high haplotype diversity (0.658). Two haplotypes were distributed across the country, whilst the others were restricted to eastern Lithuania. Analysis of microsatellites revealed high heterozygosity (H-E=0.709) and no evidence for a recent bottleneck. Using detection of first generation migrants, four individuals appeared to assign better with populations genetically differentiated from those resident in Lithuania. These immigrants were males carrying rare mitochondrial haplotypes and were encountered in the eastern part of the country, this indicates that Lithuania is subject to immigration from differentiated populations. Additionally, we did not detect any signs of recent hybridisation with dogs.


Canis lupus; Genetic structure; Lithuania; Microsatellites; Mitochondrial DNA

Published in

Central European Journal of Biology
2013, volume: 8, number: 5, pages: 440-447

Authors' information

Baltrunaite, Laima
Balciauskas, Linas
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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