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Open AccessArticle

Genetic Structure and Gene Flow in Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Scandinavia: Implications for the Potential Future Spread of Echinococcus multilocularis Tapeworm

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Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Evenstad, NO-2480 Koppang, Norway
2
Department of Biosciences, Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway
3
Snow Leopard Trust, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite 325, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
4
Department of Biotechnology, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, NO-2318 Hamar, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5289; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9245289
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 25 November 2019 / Accepted: 30 November 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
Knowledge about the dispersal and gene flow patterns in wild animals are important for our understanding of population ecology and the connectedness of populations. It is also important for management relating to disease control and the transmission of new and emerging diseases. Our study aimed to evaluate the genetic structuring among comparative samples of red foxes in a small part of Scandinavia and to estimate the gene flow and potential directionality in the movements of foxes using an optimized set of microsatellite markers. We compared genetic samples of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from two areas in Sweden and two areas in Norway, including red fox samples from areas where the occurrence of the cyclophyllic tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis has been documented, and areas without known occurrence of the parasite. Our results show a high level of gene flow over considerable distances and substantiates migration from areas affected with E. multilocularis into Norway where the parasite is not yet detected. The results allow us to better understand the gene flow and directionality in the movement patterns of red foxes, which is important for wildlife management authorities regarding the spread of E. multilocularis. View Full-Text
Keywords: post-glacial colonization; dispersal; migration; re-colonization; directionality in movement post-glacial colonization; dispersal; migration; re-colonization; directionality in movement
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Hagenlund, M.; Linløkken, A.; Østbye, K.; Walton, Z.; Odden, M.; Samelius, G.; Willebrand, T.; Wilson, R. Genetic Structure and Gene Flow in Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Scandinavia: Implications for the Potential Future Spread of Echinococcus multilocularis Tapeworm. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 5289.

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