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Mountain gorilla genomes reveal the impact of long-term population decline and inbreeding

Xue, Yali, Prado-Martinez, Javier, Sudmant, Peter H., Narasimhan, Vagheesh, Ayub, Qasim, Szpak, Michal, Frandsen, Peter, Chen, Yuan, Yngvadottir, Bryndis, Cooper, David N., de Manuel, Marc, Hernandez-Rodriguez, Jessica, Lobon, Irene, Siegismund, Hans R., Pagani, Luca, Quail, Michael A., Hvilsom, Christina, Mudakikwa, Antoine, Eichler, Evan E., Cranfield, Michael R., Marques-Bonet, Tomas, Tyler-Smith, Chris and Scally, Aylwyn 2015. Mountain gorilla genomes reveal the impact of long-term population decline and inbreeding. Science 348 (6231) , pp. 242-245. 10.1126/science.aaa3952

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Mountain gorillas are an endangered great ape subspecies and a prominent focus for conservation, yet we know little about their genomic diversity and evolutionary past. We sequenced whole genomes from multiple wild individuals and compared the genomes of all four Gorilla subspecies. We found that the two eastern subspecies have experienced a prolonged population decline over the past 100,000 years, resulting in very low genetic diversity and an increased overall burden of deleterious variation. A further recent decline in the mountain gorilla population has led to extensive inbreeding, such that individuals are typically homozygous at 34% of their sequence, leading to the purging of severely deleterious recessive mutations from the population. We discuss the causes of their decline and the consequences for their future survival.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN: 0036-8075
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 January 2017
Date of Acceptance: 3 March 2015
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 16:30

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