Genetic Analysis of the Origins of Domestic South American Camelids.
In: ZEDER, M. A. (2006) Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms. Chapter 23: 331-343.
In our sample, only 35% of domestic animals have not undergone any detectable hybridization. In particular, there are very large numbers of detectable hybrids in the alpaca (80%) — accentuated when using mitochondrial DNA. Forty percent of llama show detectable signs of hybridization, with mitochondrial introgression virtually absent. During the last 20–25 years, large-scale hybridization between llamas and alpacas has been carried out in the Andes.
Given the extreme hybridization in present-day alpacas, DNA analysis has been critical in resolving the origin of this domestic
form. Since our results suggest the vicuña as the ancestor of the alpaca, we propose that the classification of the alpaca
should be changed from Lama pacos L. to Vicugna pacos L.