Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Epigenomics of the Endangered Sonoran Pronghorn

January 2013 - December 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Arizona Game & Fish Dept.

Goal: Correlate genetic diversity to epigenetic diversity in pronghorn raised in captivity at Cabeza Prieta NWR. Epigenetic data can be used to assess for environmentally adaptive traits. In Sonoran pronghorn that have been held in captivity, we may be able to detect a different epigenetic signature (reflecting differential adaptation) between pronghorn in captivity versus those in the wild. Additionally, we will look for temporal epigenetic variation as our samples span 5 years of sampling. We will also compare epigenetic variation to genomic variation and look for correlation. This will be the first examination of epigenetic variation in wild populations of mammals, and provide preliminary results on whether epigenetic variation exists in a severely bottlenecked species. It could have important implications for adaptation of wild population experiencing environmental changes, particularly wild populations with low genomic variation.