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Captive mice and native mice don’t care to breed together, study finds

Posted November 24, 2014

A combined team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and the organization Wildlife Conservation and Science has found that mice grown in captivity don’t necessarily breed with mice living in their natural environment—a finding that could have an impact on programs designed to increase diversity in wild populations. In their paper published in Royal Society Biology Letters, the researchers describe their study and results and suggest that there could be broad implications regarding what they found.


Credit: Martha Sexton/public domain


For many years, wildlife experts have grown animals in captivity, bred them to increase their numbers, and then released some of the offspring into the wild. The aim has been to increase populations at risk by adding to their numbers and by increasing genetic diversity. But now, it appears, such programs may not be meeting with as much success as has been hoped because at least one species, common house mice, don’t breed very freely between native mice and those raised in captivity.

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