The Canine Ancestry Project

Currently Collecting Coyote Samples from Louisiana!

The Canid Project is proud to be a contributor and act as the local coordinator for Louisiana of this project.

The Canine Ancestry Project is a collaborative project led by Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University. It is represented by multiple institutions and experts in canine biology, ecology, and genetics. The objective is to explore the genetic consequences of admixed ancestry in the context of selection and the impact on an expanding species range. We also will work to estimate the extent and timing of gene flow between coyote and wolves across North America during the past 1,000 years.


We are looking for interested individuals who are willing to donate a small, pea-sized tissue sample of Louisiana coyotes for genetic research. We need only basic information on the animals sampled (no personal information is gathered).

We are looking for:

  • Louisiana sportsmen trapping/hunting coyotes (or have carcasses)

  • Individuals/biologists/birders etc. who come across roadkill coyotes

To receive sampling supplies if you are interested in collecting samples or to report roadkill coyotes in Louisiana, please email:

Louisiana Project Coordinator Amy Shutt at or fill out this form below:

Name *
Cell Phone Number *
Cell Phone Number

The Canine Ancestry Project has now published three papers as a result of population genomic analysis of North American canids. This is only the beginning of the genetic investigations into the current composition of our local canines. Briefly, our recent papers include:

  1. A genetic perspective on the range expansion of eastern coyotes, with suggestions of genes possibly under selection that promoted this expansion. Citation: Heppenheimer et al. (2018) High genomic diversity and candidate genes under selection associated with range expansion in eastern coyote (Canis latrans) populations. Ecology & Evolution. DOI:10.1002/ece3.4688) [abstract]

  2. A landscape genetics approach to explore the genetic variation found among eastern wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park. Citation: Heppenheimer et al.(2018) Population genomic analysis of North American eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) supports their conservation priority status. Genes 9(12), 606 [abstract]

  3. The identification of endangered red wolf alleles in coyotes of the American Gulf coast. Citation: Heppenheimer et al.(2018) Rediscovery of red wolf ghost alleles in a canid population along the American Gulf Coast. Genes 9(12), 618 [abstract]

This project is only possible through the generous efforts and sample donations from many people from various government agencies (e.g. USDA, DNR), numerous sportsmen, and interested communities and individuals. We thank everyone for their help and cooperation!

Project Director Bridgett vonHoldt

Please visit the project website at: