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Mol Ecol. 2011 Sep;20(18):3785-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05231.x. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

50,000 years of genetic uniformity in the critically endangered Iberian lynx.

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Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos, Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain.


Low genetic diversity in the endangered Iberian lynx, including lack of mitochondrial control region variation, is thought to result from historical or Pleistocene/Holocene population bottlenecks, and to indicate poor long-term viability. We find no variability in control region sequences from 19 Iberian lynx remains from across the Iberian Peninsula and spanning the last 50,000 years. This is best explained by continuously small female effective population size through time. We conclude that low genetic variability in the Iberian lynx is not in itself a threat to long-term viability, and so should not preclude conservation efforts.

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