Mitochondrial DNA analysis of hybridization between sympatric white-tailed deer and mule deer in west Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sympatric populations of white-tailed deer and mule deer (Odocoileus virginianus and Odocoileus hemionus, respectively) on a west Texas ranch share a common mitochondrial DNA restriction map genotype. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this genotype is more characteristic of O. virginianus than of O. hemionus. The genotype of west Texas deer differs from that of O. virginianus from South Carolina by five mutational events (1.3% sequence divergence), whereas it differs from that of O. hemionus from California by 17 events (5.5% divergence). We suggest that interspecies hybridization has occurred, primarily between mule deer bucks and white-tailed deer does, with preferential absorption of hybrid offspring into the mule deer gene pool. Introgressive hybridization may be involved in ongoing displacement of mule deer by white-tailed deer in west Texas.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

author list (cited authors)

  • Carr, S. M., Ballinger, S. W., Derr, J. N., Blankenship, L. H., & Bickham, J. W.

citation count

  • 114

complete list of authors

  • Carr, SM||Ballinger, SW||Derr, JN||Blankenship, LH||Bickham, JW

publication date

  • December 1986