— as a population expands, it’s also edging toward a genetic crisis, and the larger the population gets, the harder it will be to avert. m1296 is descended from a fantastically successful matriarch called af521, “a” for alpha. his mate is, too. their story is typical. in fact, biologists know of only one breeding female in the wild that isn’t related to af521. wolves shouldn’t sleep with their relatives for the same reason people shouldn’t. inbreeding can cause dangerous disorders, depress fertility, and even make small populations more vulnerable to extinction. a birth on april 2 at the missouri centre, collaborating with endangered wolf center (EWC), was the first-ever for the breed using frozen semen and could change the picture.