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Curr Biol. 2015 Aug 17;25(16):2158-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060. Epub 2015 Jul 30.

Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species.

Author information

1
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA; Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, 41A Sredniy Prospekt, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia. Electronic address: koepflik@si.edu.
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 610 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606, USA.
3
CIBIO/InBIO - Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, and Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre s⁄n, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal; Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 534, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa.
4
Department of Biology, Duke University, PO Box 90388, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
5
Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter MS 3051, Moscow, ID 83844, USA.
6
Department of Biological Sciences, Division of Genetics and Physiology, University of Turku, Itäinen Pitkäkatu 4, 20014 Turku, Finland; Department of Biology, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland.
7
CIBIO/InBIO - Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, and Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre s⁄n, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal.
8
Sichuan Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology on Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China.
9
Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, 41A Sredniy Prospekt, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia.
10
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
11
Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.
12
Estación Biológica de Doñana, Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group (EBD-CSIC), Avenida Américo Vespucio s/n, 41092 Sevilla, Spain.
13
Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, MRC 108, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.
14
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA.
15
Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, 41A Sredniy Prospekt, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia; Nova Southeastern University, Oceanographic Center, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004 USA.
16
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 610 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606, USA. Electronic address: rwayne@ucla.edu.

Abstract

The golden jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered a conspecific of jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East. However, two recent reports found that mitochondrial haplotypes of some African golden jackals aligned more closely to gray wolves (Canis lupus), which is surprising given the absence of gray wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species. Moreover, these results imply the existence of a previously unrecognized phylogenetically distinct species despite a long history of taxonomic work on African canids. To test the distinct-species hypothesis and understand the evolutionary history that would account for this puzzling result, we analyzed extensive genomic data including mitochondrial genome sequences, sequences from 20 autosomal loci (17 introns and 3 exon segments), microsatellite loci, X- and Y-linked zinc-finger protein gene (ZFX and ZFY) sequences, and whole-genome nuclear sequences in African and Eurasian golden jackals and gray wolves. Our results provide consistent and robust evidence that populations of golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia represent distinct monophyletic lineages separated for more than one million years, sufficient to merit formal recognition as different species: C. anthus (African golden wolf) and C. aureus (Eurasian golden jackal). Using morphologic data, we demonstrate a striking morphologic similarity between East African and Eurasian golden jackals, suggesting parallelism, which may have misled taxonomists and likely reflects uniquely intense interspecific competition in the East African carnivore guild. Our study shows how ecology can confound taxonomy if interspecific competition constrains size diversification.

PMID:
26234211
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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