Skip to main content

Functional genetic diversity of domestic and wild American mink (Neovison vison )

Cite this dataset

Morris, Kimberley Y.; Bowman, Jeff; Schulte-Hostedde, Albrecht; Wilson, Paul J. (2020). Functional genetic diversity of domestic and wild American mink (Neovison vison ) [Dataset]. Dryad.


The release of domestic organisms to the wild threatens biodiversity because the introduction of domestic genes through interbreeding can negatively impact wild conspecifics via outbreeding depression. In North America, farmed American mink (Neovison vison) frequently escape captivity, yet the impact of these events on functional genetic diversity of wild mink populations is unclear. We characterized domestic and wild mink in Ontario at 17 microsatellites located in functional genes and in a promoter region that is non-coding but thought to be associated with traits affected by domestication. We found low functional genetic diversity in both mink types, as only 4 of 17 genes were variable, and the number of alleles per locus were generally lower in captive mink than in wild mink. To determine if allele frequencies of wild populations were affected by domestic release events, we performed redundancy analysis and spatial analysis of principal components on four polymorphic loci (AR, ATN1, IGF-1, and TOB1). We found evidence to suggest domestic release events are affecting the functional genetic diversity of wild mink, as sPCA showed clear distinctions between wild individuals near mink farms and those located in areas without mink farms. This is further substantiated through RDA, where spatial location was associated with genetic variation of AR, ATN1, and IGF1.


Mink sampled from multiple farm and wild sites in Ontario were separated into five groups: Nova Scotia domestic black (NSB), Ontario domestic black (ONB), Ontario domestic brown (OND), wild (Wild), and free-ranging Ontario mink of mixed origin that cannot be classified as either fully domestic or fully wild (Hybrid) based on Bayesian assignment tests carried out in a previous study (Kidd et al., 2009). Individuals with a mean membership coefficient q ≥ 0.8 were assigned as wild, those with q ≤ 0.2 were domestic, and the remaining (0.2 > q < 0.8) were considered hybrid though they may have been backcrossed to domestic or wild groups (Kidd et al., 2009). Samples were genotyped at microsatellite loci in four functional genes (AR, ATN1, IGF-1, and TOB1) and a set of neutral loci. We also sequenced AR and ATN1 alleles to test for sequence polymorphisms in same-sized alleles.


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council