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Projecting introgression from domestic cats into European wildcats in the Swiss Jura


Quilodrán, Claudio S; Nussberger, Beatrice; Macdonald, David W; Montoya‐Burgos, Juan I; Currat, Mathias (2020). Projecting introgression from domestic cats into European wildcats in the Swiss Jura. Evolutionary Applications, 13(8):2101-2112.

Abstract

Hybridization between wild and domesticated organisms is a worldwide conservation issue. In the Jura Mountains, threatened European wildcats (Felis silvestris) have been demographically spreading for approximately the last 50 years, but this recovery is coupled with hybridization with domestic cats (Felis catus). Here, we project the pattern of future introgression using different spatially explicit scenarios to model the interactions between the two species, including competition and different population sizes. We project the fast introgression of domestic cat genes into the wildcat population under all scenarios if hybridization is not severely restricted. If the current hybridization rate and population sizes remain unchanged, we expect the loss of genetic distinctiveness between wild and domestic cats at neutral nuclear, mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers in one hundred years. However, scenarios involving a competitive advantage for wildcats and a future increase in the wildcat population size project a slower increase in introgression. We recommend that future studies assess the fitness of these hybrids and better characterize their ecological niche and their ecological interactions with parental species to elucidate effective conservation measures.

Abstract

Hybridization between wild and domesticated organisms is a worldwide conservation issue. In the Jura Mountains, threatened European wildcats (Felis silvestris) have been demographically spreading for approximately the last 50 years, but this recovery is coupled with hybridization with domestic cats (Felis catus). Here, we project the pattern of future introgression using different spatially explicit scenarios to model the interactions between the two species, including competition and different population sizes. We project the fast introgression of domestic cat genes into the wildcat population under all scenarios if hybridization is not severely restricted. If the current hybridization rate and population sizes remain unchanged, we expect the loss of genetic distinctiveness between wild and domestic cats at neutral nuclear, mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers in one hundred years. However, scenarios involving a competitive advantage for wildcats and a future increase in the wildcat population size project a slower increase in introgression. We recommend that future studies assess the fitness of these hybrids and better characterize their ecological niche and their ecological interactions with parental species to elucidate effective conservation measures.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Genetics
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:09 Feb 2021 10:46
Last Modified:10 Feb 2021 21:00
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:1752-4571
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.12968
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_182577
  • : Project TitlePaleogenomic investigation of the Evolution of European populations using computational simulations
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP400PB_183930
  • : Project TitleA simulation framework for the dynamic of Genetic and Genomic Landscapes in Conservation and Evolution

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