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The wild ancestors of domestic animals as a neglected and threatened component of biodiversity


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  • 23.11.2021
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  • Conservation Biology. - 2022, vol. 36, no. 3, p. e13867
English Domestic animals have immense economic, cultural and practical value, and have played pivotal roles in the development of human civilization. Many domesticates have, among their wild relatives, undomesticated forms representative of their ancestors. Resurgent interest in these ancestral forms has highlighted the unclear genetic status of many, with some threatened with extinction by hybridization with domestic conspecifics. Our aim is to focus attention on the contemporary status of these ancestral forms, by first discussing their scientific, practical and ecological importance; second, outlining the varied impacts of wild-domestic hybridization; and third discussing the challenges and potential resolutions involved in conservation efforts. We highlight the complexity of identifying and conserving ancestral forms, particularly with respect to disentangling patterns of gene flow from domesticates. Comparative behavioural, ecological and genetic studies of ancestral-type, feral and domestic animals should be prioritized to establish the contemporary status of the former. Such baseline information will be fundamental in ensuring successful conservation efforts.
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Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
Biological sciences
Open access status
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