We used data on the polymorphic status of 1-antitrypsin (1AT) to study the relationship of Minnesota wolves to the gray wolf (Canis lupus), which was thought to have evolved in Eurasia, and to red wolves (Canis rufus) and coyotes (Canis latrans), which putatively evolved in North America. Recent evidence had indicated that Minnesota wolves might be more closely related to red wolves and coyotes. Samples from wild-caught Minnesota wolves and from captive wolves, at least some of which originated in Alaska and western Canada, were similarly polymorphic for 1AT, whereas coyote and red wolf samples were all monomorphic. Our findings, in conjunction with earlier results, are consistent with the Minnesota wolf being a gray wolf of Eurasian origin or possibly a hybrid between the gray wolf of Eurasian origin and the proposed North American wolf.
Additional publication details
Alpha1-antitrypsin polymorphism and systematics of eastern North American wolves