Using ancestry-informative SNPs to quantify introgression of european alleles into north american red foxes

Yi Hung Kuo, Stevi Lee Vanderzwan, Adrienne E. Kasprowicz, Benjamin N. Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A recent study demonstrated that British red foxes introduced to the mid-Atlantic coastal plain (ACP) of the eastern United States during the late 18th century successfully interbred with indigenous American red foxes despite half a million year's divergence. However, a large disparity in frequency of European mitochondria (27%) versus Y chromosomes (1%) left unclear the magnitude of genetic exchange. We sought to quantify genomic introgression using 35 autosomal and 5 X-chromosome ancestry-informative markers (AIMs) in conjunction with diagnostic Y chromosome single nucleotide polymorphism (Y-SNP) markers to characterize the modern state of red foxes in the eastern United States and to gain insight into the potential role of reproductive barriers. European admixture was highest in the ACP and apparently restricted to the central eastern United States. We estimated only slightly (and nonsignificantly) European ancestry in autosomal than X-chromosome markers. European ancestry from autosomal and X-chromosome markers (36.4%) was higher than the corresponding mitochondrial (mt) DNA estimate (26.4%) in the ACP. Only 1 of 124 males (<1%) in the ACP had European Y chromosomes, which was similar to the neighboring regions, in which 2 of 99 (2%) males carried a European Y chromosome (the same haplotype). Although we could not rule out drift as the cause of low European Y-chromosome frequency, results were also consistent with F1 male infertility. In the future, more extensive genomic sequencing will enable a more thorough investigation of possible barrier genes on the X chromosome as well as throughout the genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-792
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Hybridization
  • Incipient species
  • Male sterility
  • Red Fox
  • Reproductive isolation
  • SNP
  • Speciation
  • Vulpes fulva
  • Vulpes vulpes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using ancestry-informative SNPs to quantify introgression of european alleles into north american red foxes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this