Characterization of Genetic Variation and Basis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Toll-like Receptor 5 Gene of the Red Wolf and Maned Wolf



Henson, Lauren

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Characterizing Toll-like receptors across taxa can lead to an increasingly accurate documentation of the evolutionary processes active within this receptor class, as well as a greater understanding of the diseases associated with these receptors. This study examines two sequenced portions of the Toll-like receptor 5 protein coding gene in two imperiled canid species: the near threatened maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the critically endangered red wolf (Canis rufus), to characterize genetic variation and investigate the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Both maned and red wolves suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, threatening the sustainability of their crucial ex situ populations. In this thesis I report novel polymorphic positions found in maned and red wolf TLR5 gene and differences in variation with regard to nucleotide polymorphisms and resulting amino acid variation between maned wolves, red wolves, gray wolves and domestic dogs. Although domestic dog SNPs associated with IBD were not found to be polymorphic in maned wolves and red wolves, all sampled individuals of both focal species and gray wolves lack the protective alleles present in many dog breeds, suggesting a genetic predisposition for IBD in these two wild canid species. This potential predisposition informs ex situ management practices and treatment for IBD.


This thesis has been embargoed for 1 year and will not be available until November 2016.


Inflammatory bowel disease, Maned wolves, Red wolves, Toll-like receptors