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Yellowstone National Park Report

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The purpose of this study was the comparison of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from Northern Montana and Minnesota wolves to the extinct wolves of Yellowstone National Park (YNP). This comparison was intended to provide a genetic basis to identify potential wolf stocks for introduction into YNP. Unfortunately the only extinct YNP specimens available were dried tanned skins from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and YNP. The nucleic acids extracted from these skins was so badly degraded that no amplification of mtDNA was possible; so the critical comparisons could not be made. The control region of the mtDNA is 1100-1200 nucleotides long in vertebrates, contains sequences that control replication and gene activation and in terms of evolutionary analysis has the desired feature of both variable and conserved regions. The variable regions provide the genetic diversity that is the basis of taxonomic and evolutionary studies while the conserved regions provide the ability to synthesize short complementary oligonucleotides to prime the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the organisms studies.