Open Access

Differentiation of the Italian wolf and the domestic dog based on microsatellite analysis

  • Gaudenz Dolf1Email author,
  • Jörg Schläpfer1,
  • Claude Gaillard1,
  • Ettore Randi2,
  • Vittorio Lucchini2,
  • Urs Breitenmoser3 and
  • Nasikhat Stahlberger-Saitbekova1
Genetics Selection Evolution200032:533

Received: 24 March 2000

Accepted: 30 May 2000

Published: 15 September 2000


The Italian wolf is in the process of regaining the Alpine region which comes into conflict with the extensive sheep keeping practiced in Switzerland during the summer. As in Switzerland, the wolf is a protected species, the government reimburses losses caused by wolves. Therefore we wanted to know whether the Italian wolf could be distinguished from the domestic dog by microsatellite analysis if DNA samples of the predators could be secured. The evaluation of combined genotypes for the microsatellites CanBern6, CPH4, CPH7, CPH9, CPH12, CPH22 and ZuBeCa1 made it possible to identify an individual as either a domestic dog or an Italian wolf. The assignment of an individual to either one of the two populations is based on the logarithm of the likelihood ratio of an individual being an Italian wolf rather than a domestic dog, given a specific combined genotype. The distribution of the Italian wolf combined genotypes (n = 42) is clearly distinct from the distribution of the domestic dog combined genotypes (n = 90). The likelihood ratio for the "worst" Italian wolf combined genotype was 2.3 E+5 and for the "worst" domestic dog combined genotype was 3.8 E-5.


Italian wolfdomestic dogmicrosatellitegenotypelikelihood ratio

(To access the full article, please see PDF)

Authors’ Affiliations

Institute of Animal Breeding, University of Berne
Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica
Institute of Veterinary Virology


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2000