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Curr Biol. 2019 Jan 7;29(1):165-170.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.055. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

Historical Genomes Reveal the Genomic Consequences of Recent Population Decline in Eastern Gorillas.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Genetics (Animal ecology), Uppsala University, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.
2
Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, 10405 Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), PRBB, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), Passeig de Lluís Companys, 23, 08010, Barcelona, Spain; CNAG-CRG, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), Baldiri i Reixac 4, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici ICTA-ICP, c/ Columnes s/n, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain.
4
Department of Ecology and Genetics (Animal ecology), Uppsala University, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address: katerina.guschanski@ebc.uu.se.
5
Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, 10405 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: love.dalen@nrm.se.

Abstract

Many endangered species have experienced severe population declines within the last centuries [1, 2]. However, despite concerns about negative fitness effects resulting from increased genetic drift and inbreeding, there is a lack of empirical data on genomic changes in conjunction with such declines [3-7]. Here, we use whole genomes recovered from century-old historical museum specimens to quantify the genomic consequences of small population size in the critically endangered Grauer's and endangered mountain gorillas. We find a reduction of genetic diversity and increase in inbreeding and genetic load in the Grauer's gorilla, which experienced severe population declines in recent decades. In contrast, the small but relatively stable mountain gorilla population has experienced little genomic change during the last century. These results suggest that species histories as well as the rate of demographic change may influence how population declines affect genome diversity.

KEYWORDS:

conservation genomics; critically endangered; genetic load; genome erosion; inbreeding; museum collections

PMID:
30595519
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.055
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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