Genetic relatedness of artificially aggregating raccoons (Procyon lotor) [abstract]
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Raccoons are generally solitary animals but due to increasing human populations, solitary animals such as the raccoon are forced into closer contact with one another. Aggregation in general may result in the transmission of diseases and parasites, but it is unclear whether the transmission is due solely to aggregation or if genetic relatedness plays a role in disease/parasite transmission. My project examined the relatedness between raccoons aggregating at enriched food sources at several local field sites. To determine relatedness between individuals, I amplified twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fragment analysis will then be used to determine the alleles of the individuals at each locus. Using the computer analysis program Kinship, relationship probabilities will be calculated between individuals and populations. The data generated in this study will be used in a larger study of patterns of disease/parasite occurrences in aggregating raccoons.