Wildcats threatened by their domestic cousins — ScienceDaily

European wildcats, thought to be extinct 50 or so years ago in the Jura mountains, have since recolonised part of their former territory. This resurgence in an area occupied by domestic cats has gone hand-in-hand with genetic crosses between the two species. The hybridisation between wild and domesticated organisms is known to endanger the gene pool of wild species. In a study to be published in the journal Evolutionary Applications, a team of biologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in collaboration with the University of Zurich and the University of Oxford, modelled the interactions between the two species to predict the future of the wildcat in the mountainous region of the Swiss Jura. The different scenarios modelled by the scientists show that within 200 to 300 years — a very short time in evolutionary terms — hybridisation will entail the irreversible genetic replacement of wildcats, making it impossible … Read More

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