Imperiled Indian wolves are genetically distinct

Indian wolves may be one of the most evolutionarily distinct lineages of wolves.
Credit: Mihir Godbole/The Grasslands Trust

Indian wolves are genetically distinct from gray wolves and may be extremely endangered, according to new genetic research. Indian wolves live in lowland regions of India and Pakistan—grassland habitats that are often threatened by human development. Previous research suggested that the Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) was more distinct than other types of wolves, including the Indian wolf. But for this research, scientists looked at the entire genome of Indian wolves rather than just mitochondrial DNA that comes from the mother’s side. The new research published in Molecular Ecology suggests that Indian wolves are even more distinct from other gray wolves than Himalayan wolves, and that both should be managed separately for conservation. Indian wolves are currently not considered distinct from western Asian wolves (Canis lupus pallipes).

Read more at the University of California, Davis news