skip to main content


Title: Coyotes in New York City Carry Variable Genomic Dog Ancestry and Influence Their Interactions with Humans
Coyotes are ubiquitous on the North American landscape as a result of their recent expansion across the continent. They have been documented in the heart of some of the most urbanized cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Here, we explored the genomic composition of 16 coyotes in the New York metropolitan area to investigate genomic demography and admixture for urban-dwelling canids in Queens County, New York. We identified moderate-to-high estimates of relatedness among coyotes living in Queens (r = 0.0–0.5) and adjacent neighborhoods, suggestive of a relatively small population. Although we found low background levels of domestic-dog ancestry across most coyotes in our sample (5%), we identified a male suspected to be a first-generation coyote–dog hybrid with 46% dog ancestry, as well as his two putative backcrossed offspring that carried approximately 25% dog ancestry. The male coyote–dog hybrid and one backcrossed offspring each carried two transposable element insertions that are associated with human-directed hypersociability in dogs and gray wolves. An additional, unrelated coyote with little dog ancestry also carried two of these insertions. These genetic patterns suggest that gene flow from domestic dogs may become an increasingly important consideration as coyotes continue to inhabit metropolitan regions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1919452
NSF-PAR ID:
10376109
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Genes
Volume:
13
Issue:
9
ISSN:
2073-4425
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1661
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Hybrid zones typically contain novel gene combinations that can be tested by natural selection in a unique genetic context. Parental haplotypes that increase fitness can introgress beyond the hybrid zone, into the range of parental species. We used the Affymetrix canineSNPgenotyping array to identify genomic regions tagged by multiple ancestry informative markers that are more frequent in an admixed population than expected. We surveyed a hybrid zone formed in the last 100 years as coyotes expanded their range into eastern North America. Concomitant with expansion, coyotes hybridized with wolves and some populations became more wolflike, such that coyotes in the northeast have the largest body size of any coyote population. Using a set of 3102 ancestry informative markers, we identified 60 differentially introgressed regions in 44 canines across this admixture zone. These regions are characterized by an excess of exogenous ancestry and, in northeastern coyotes, are enriched for genes affecting body size and skeletal proportions. Further, introgressed wolf‐derived alleles have penetrated into SouthernUScoyote populations. Because no wolves currently exist in this area, these alleles are unlikely to have originated from recent hybridization. Instead, they probably originated from intraspecific gene flow or ancient admixture. We show that grey wolf and coyote admixture has far‐reaching effects and, in addition to phenotypically transforming admixed populations, allows for the differential movement of alleles from different parental species to be tested in new genomic backgrounds.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Anthropogenic disturbances are widely recognized for their far-reaching consequences on the survival and reproduction of wildlife, but we understand comparatively little about their effects on the social lives of group-living animals. Here we examined these short-term changes in affiliative behavior as part of a long-term study on a human-tolerant and socially flexible population of California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi). We used social network analysis to examine short-term changes in affiliative behavior and individual consistency in response to disturbances by humans, domestic dogs, or a natural predator (the coyote). Overall, juveniles were more involved than adults in affiliative interactions, but the short-term directional effects of these acute disturbances on social cohesion varied by disturbance type. Human and dog presence reduced aboveground connectivity, particularly for juveniles, whereas disturbances by coyotes generally promoted it. Beyond these effects, we also detected non-random responses to disturbances, though individuals were not very consistent in their directional response to different disturbance types. Our results demonstrate the flexible changes in social behavior triggered by short-term disturbances imposed by humans and other threats. More generally, our findings elucidate the underappreciated sensitivity of animal social interactions to short-term ecological disturbances, raising key questions about their consequences on the social lives of animals.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The domestic dog is assumed by nearly everyone to be the consummate smeller. Within the speciesCanis familiarisindividual breeds, such as the bloodhound or beagle, are known as olfactory stars. These are “scent breeds,” a grouping variably defined as a genetic clade or breed class commonly used for scent detection tasks. Previous work suggests that the dog has a more robust olfactory anatomy than many mammal species. Now we undertake a closer investigation of the dog's olfactory system, both in relationship to its closest wild relatives, the wolf and coyote, and across individual breeds. First, we seek to resolve whether the dog has lost olfactory capacity through its domestication from the wolf lineage. Second, we test the inertial lore that among dogs, “scent breeds,” have a superior olfactory facility. As a measure of relative olfactory capacity, we look to the cribriform plate (CP), a bony cup in the posterior nasal cavity perforated by passageways for all olfactory nerve bundles streaming from the periphery to the brain. Using high‐resolution computed tomography (CT) scans and digital quantification, we compare relative CP size in 46 dog breeds, the coyote and gray wolf. Results show the dog has a reduced CP surface area relative to the wolf and coyote. Moreover, we found no significant differences between CP size of “scent” and “non‐scent” breeds. Our study suggests that the dog lost olfactory capacity as a result of domestication and this loss was not recovered in particular breed groupings through directed artificial selection for increased olfactory facility.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Hybridization can profoundly affect the genomic composition and phenotypes of closely related species, and provides an opportunity to identify mechanisms that maintain reproductive isolation between species. Recent evidence suggests that hybridization outcomes within a species pair can vary across locations. However, we still do not know how variable outcomes of hybridization are across geographic replicates, and what mechanisms drive that variation. In this study, we described hybridization outcomes across 27 locations in the North Fork Shoshone River basin (Wyoming, USA) where native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and introduced rainbow trout co‐occur. We used genomic data and hierarchical Bayesian models to precisely identify ancestry of hybrid individuals. Hybridization outcomes varied across locations. In some locations, only rainbow trout and advanced backcrossed hybrids towards rainbow trout were present, while trout in other locations had a broader range of ancestry, including both parental species and first‐generation hybrids. Later‐generation intermediate hybrids were rare relative to backcrossed hybrids and rainbow trout individuals. Using an individual‐based simulation, we found that outcomes of hybridization in the North Fork Shoshone River basin deviate substantially from what we would expect under null expectations of random mating and no selection against hybrids. Since this deviation implies that some mechanisms of reproductive isolation function to maintain parental taxa and a diversity of hybrid types, we then modelled hybridization outcomes as a function of environmental variables and stocking history that are likely to affect prezygotic barriers to hybridization. Variables associated with history of fish stocking were the strongest predictors of hybridization outcomes, followed by environmental variables that might affect overlap in spawning time and location.

     
    more » « less
  5. Sexually reproducing organisms usually invest equally in male and female offspring. Deviations from this pattern have led researchers to new discoveries in the study of parent–offspring conflict, genomic conflict, and cooperative breeding. Some social insect species exhibit the unusual population-level pattern of split sex ratio, wherein some colonies specialize in the production of future queens and others specialize in the production of males. Theoretical work predicted that worker control of sex ratio and variation in relatedness asymmetry among colonies would cause each colony to specialize in the production of one sex. While some empirical tests supported theoretical predictions, others deviated from them, leaving many questions about how split sex ratio emerges. One factor yet to be investigated is whether colony sex ratio may be influenced by the genotypes of queens or workers. Here, we sequence the genomes of 138 Formica glacialis workers from 34 male-producing and 34 gyne-producing colonies to determine whether split sex ratio is under genetic control. We identify a supergene spanning 5.5 Mbp that is closely associated with sex allocation in this system. Strikingly, this supergene is adjacent to another supergene spanning 5 Mbp that is associated with variation in colony queen number. We identify a similar pattern in a second related species, Formica podzolica. The discovery that split sex ratio is determined, at least in part, by a supergene in two species opens future research on the evolutionary drivers of split sex ratio. 
    more » « less