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Title: Ancient DNA confirms native Rocky Mountain fisher (Martes pennanti) avoided early 20th century extinction

Author: Schwartz, Michael K.;

Date: 2007

Source: Journal of Mammalogy: 88(4): 921-925.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Until recently it was assumed that fishers (Martes pennanti) in the Rocky Mountains all were descended from reintroduced stocks. However, a recent study reported that mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome-b and control region) haplotypes of fishers found only in west-central Montana are likely derived from a relic population of fishers that escaped harvests conducted in the early 20th century. I compared fishers in west-central Montana to samples from north-central Idaho and found no evidence for substructure between these groups. A museum specimen, collected in 1896 in north-central Idaho before any known translocation, also was the same haplotype as the "native Montana haplotype" discovered in the recent study. Thus, fishers in north-central Idaho and westcentral Montana are the only confirmed native fishers in the Rocky Mountains, and 1 of a few populations in the West that have maintained native genes. Fishers from Idaho and Montana are not all descendants of translocated individuals, but also are the descendants of fishers that persisted despite early 20th century trapping.

Keywords: ancient DNA, control region, cytochrome b, fishers, genetics, Martes pennanti, mitochondrial DNA, translocation

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Schwartz, Michael K. 2007. Ancient DNA confirms native Rocky Mountain fisher (Martes pennanti) avoided early 20th century extinction. Journal of Mammalogy: 88(4): 921-925.


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