Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeography of the North American Brown Bear and Implications for Conservation

  title={Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeography of the North American Brown Bear and Implications for Conservation},
  author={Lisette P. Waits and Sandra Looman Talbot and Robert H. Ward and Gerald F. Shields},
  journal={Conservation Biology},
The historical distribution of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in North America included Alaska, western Canada, the western and midwestern states, plus northern Mexico. Currently, the brown bear is limited to Alaska, the Canadian provinces of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Alberta, and six threatened subpopulations in the lower 48 states. To examine the evolutionary history of U. arctos in North America and to assess the genetic divergence between individuals from… 

Phylogeography and mitochondrial diversity of extirpated brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the contiguous United States and Mexico

The data are consistent with recent genetic evidence that brown bears were south of the ice prior to the last glacial maximum, and there is no support for previous subspecies designations, although bears of the southwestern United States may have had a distinctive, but recent, pattern of ancestry.

Molecular phylogeography of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Northeastern Asia based on analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences.

The maternal phylogeny of the brown bear is reconstructed and estimated divergence times are estimated to investigate the timing of brown bear migrations, especially in northeastern Eurasia.

Phylogeography of the Brown Bear ( Ursus arctos ) in Northeastern Asia Based on Analyses of Complete Mitochondrial DNA Sequences

The maternal phylogeny of the brown bear is reconstructed and estimated divergence times are estimated to investigate the timing of brown bear migrations, especially in northeastern Eurasia.

Genetic relationships of North American bears (Ursus) inferred from amplified fragment length polymorphisms and mitochondrial DNA sequences

The data indicate that extant populations of brown bears and polar bears have separate nuclear and mitochondrial gene pools and are supported as species under the genetic species concept.

Exceptional maternal lineage diversity in brown bears (Ursus arctos) from Turkey

This study reveals a high level of mitochondrial diversity in Turkish U. arctos, shows that the ranges of both European and Middle Eastern clades extend into Turkey, and identifies a new divergent lineage of possibly wider historical occurrence.

Mitogenetic structure of brown bears (Ursus arctos L.) in northeastern Europe and a new time frame for the formation of European brown bear lineages

It is hypothesize that the West Carpathian Mountains have served either as one of the northernmost refuge areas or as an important movement corridor for brown bears of the Eastern lineage towards northern Europe during or after the last ice age.

Microevolution of the mitochondrial DNA control region in the Japanese brown bear (Ursus arctos) population.

Investigating nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region to describe natural genetic variations and to assess the relationships between subpopulations of the brown bear Ursus arctos on Hokkaido Island, Japan found that most of the phylogenetically close haplotypes within each group were distributed geographically close to each other.

Population genetics of ice age brown bears.

  • J. LeonardR. WayneA. Cooper
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2000
The Pleistocene was a dynamic period for Holarctic mammal species, complicated by episodes of glaciation, local extinctions, and intercontinental migration. The genetic consequences of these events

Phylogeography of mitochondrial DNA variation in brown bears and polar bears.

Investigation of the phylogeography of brown bears of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula in relation to other Alaskan brown bears because the former are being threatened by increased human development and all of the predictions were upheld.


Conservation plans for these medium-sized carnivores should emphasize maintenance of genetic diversity and recognize that successful dispersal of females between populations may be limited, a finding consistent with male-biased dispersal in wolverines.



Mitochondrial DNA polymorphism, phylogeography, and conservation genetics of the brown bear Ursus arctos in Europe

  • P. TaberletJ. Bouvet
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1994
This study demonstrates the relevance of the molecular phylogeographic approach to the identification of conservation units of the brown bear and deduces the potential conservation units from these results.

Phylogeography of brown bears (Ursus arctos) of Alaska and paraphyly within the Ursidae.

The mtDNA data support some, but not all, of the currently designated subspecies of brown bears whose descriptions have been based essentially on morphology, and a weak correlation is suggested between types of mtDNA and habitat preference by brown bears in Alaska.

Mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence among some west European brown bear (Ursus arctos L.) populations. Lessons for conservation

The low genetically effective size of the studied brown bear populations points to risks of continuing future loss of gene diversity and increase in inbreeding, and artificial gene flow through restocking could alleviate inbreeding depression in small isolatedBrown bear populations, and mtDNA phylogeographic relationships may provide a framework for their genetic management.

Interspecific and intraspecific mitochondrial DNA variation in North American bears (Ursus)

Comparing mitochondrial DNA variation in North American black bears, brown bears, and polar bears indicates that there has been maintenance of polymorphism and considerable gene flow throughout the history of the species.

A phylogeny of the bears (Ursidae) inferred from complete sequences of three mitochondrial genes.

Calibration of the corrected average number of nucleotide differences per site with the fossil record indicates that transitions at third positions of codons in the ursid cytochrome b gene occur at a rate of approximately 6% per million years, which is considerably slower than comparable values reported for other species of mammal.

Mitochondrial DNA Variability of the Gray Wolf: Genetic Consequences of Population Decline and Habitat Fragmentation

It is suggested that the difference between these two species reflects the rapid, recent increase in coyote numbers and expansion of their geographic range, and the coincident decline in gray wolf populations.

Conservation genetics of the European brown bear ‐ a study using excremental PCR of nuclear and mitochondrial sequences

It is shown that the Brenta population is monomorphic for one mitochondrial lineage and that female as well as male bears exist in the area and the implications for the management of brown bears in the BrentA and elsewhere in Europe are discussed.


Results of restriction fragment analysis of whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as well as sequence descriptions of the cytochrome b genes and the control regions ofmtDNA of American black bears, brown bears, and polar bears are presented to attempt to contribute to a resolution of the phylogenetic relationships of the three taxa.

Intraspecific variation in mitochondrial DNA of North American cervids

Intraspecific variation in mitochondrial DNA of North American cervids was assessed with restriction enzymes to determine relationships among populations and subspecies. No variation was detected in

Microsatellite analysis of population structure in Canadian polar bears

Using eight hypervariable microsatellite loci to study the genetic relationships between four Canadian polar bear populations indicates that gene flow between local populations is restricted despite the long‐distance seasonal movements undertaken by polar bears.