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An evaluation of genetic analyses, skull morphology and visual appearance for assessing dingo purity: implications for dingo conservation

Elledge, A.E. and Allen, L.R. and Carlsson, B.L. and Wilton, A.N. and Leung, L.K.P. (2008) An evaluation of genetic analyses, skull morphology and visual appearance for assessing dingo purity: implications for dingo conservation. Wildlife Research, 35 (8). pp. 812-820.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR07056

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au

Abstract

The introgression of domestic dog genes into dingo populations threatens the genetic integrity of 'pure' dingoes. However, dingo conservation efforts are hampered by difficulties in distinguishing between dingoes and hybrids in the field. This study evaluates consistency in the status of hybridisation (i.e. dingo, hybrid or dog) assigned by genetic analyses, skull morphology and visual assessments. Of the 56 south-east Queensland animals sampled, 39 (69.6%) were assigned the same status by all three methods, 10 (17.9%) by genetic and skull methods, four (7.1%) by genetic and visual methods; and two (3.6%) by skull and visual methods. Pair-wise comparisons identified a significant relationship between genetic and skull methods, but not between either of these and visual methods. Results from surveying 13 experienced wild dog managers showed that hybrids were more easily identified by visual characters than were dingoes. A more reliable visual assessment can be developed through determining the relationship between (1) genetics and phenotype by sampling wild dog populations and (2) the expression of visual characteristics from different proportions and breeds of domestic dog genes by breeding trials. Culling obvious hybrids based on visual characteristics, such as sable and patchy coat colours, should slow the process of hybridisation.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© CSIRO.
Keywords:Canis familiaris; taxonomic status; wild canids; identity; dog; hybridization; Australia; domestication; repeats; genome.
Subjects:Science > Biology > Genetics
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Carnivora > Canidae (Dogs)
Science > Zoology > Morphology
Deposited On:11 Feb 2009 03:29
Last Modified:10 Jun 2011 02:39

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