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Science. 2017 Nov 17;358(6365):951-954. doi: 10.1126/science.aao0960.

Natural selection shaped the rise and fall of passenger pigeon genomic diversity.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
2
Revive & Restore, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA.
3
Department of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
4
Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada.
5
Department of Zoology, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO 80205, USA.
6
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark.
7
Environment and Climate Change Canada, 9250-49th Street, Edmonton, AB T6B 1K5, Canada.
8
NTNU University Museum, 7491 Trondheim, Norway.
9
Tromsø University Museum, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, 9037 Tromsø, Norway.
10
Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.
11
Collections Department, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, NY 14607, USA.
12
Marie-Lorraine Pipes, Zooarchaeologist Consultant, Victor, NY 14564, USA.
13
A. Gregory Sohrweide D.D.S., Baldwinsville, NY 13027, USA.
14
University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
15
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. beth.shapiro@gmail.com.

Abstract

The extinct passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America, and possibly the world. Although theory predicts that large populations will be more genetically diverse, passenger pigeon genetic diversity was surprisingly low. To investigate this disconnect, we analyzed 41 mitochondrial and 4 nuclear genomes from passenger pigeons and 2 genomes from band-tailed pigeons, which are passenger pigeons' closest living relatives. Passenger pigeons' large population size appears to have allowed for faster adaptive evolution and removal of harmful mutations, driving a huge loss in their neutral genetic diversity. These results demonstrate the effect that selection can have on a vertebrate genome and contradict results that suggested that population instability contributed to this species's surprisingly rapid extinction.

PMID:
29146814
DOI:
10.1126/science.aao0960
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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