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Conservation Genetics In A Bison-Cattle Hybrid Herd At Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge

• American Bison (Bison bison) are a keystone species in prairie grassland ecosystems. • Bison experienced a severe genetic bottleneck in the late 1800s and their numbers declined drastically. • The species recovered from the bottleneck and now there are more than 500,000 bison today. • Hybridization with cattle has threatened bison fitness and genetic adaptations necessary for survival in North American grassland habitats. • Bison are found in both Federal and private herds around North America. Objectives: • Identify bison individuals located at Rio Mora NWR that have genetic evidence of cattle introgression in mitochondrial DNA. • Identify lineages in the bison herd at the Rio Mora NWR.

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