March 24, 2007

Genetic structure of chimpanzee populations

This cleverly titled paper echoes the 2002 paper on the Genetic structure of human populations. From the paper:
We have carried out the largest analysis of chimpanzee genetic variation to date, which shows that the western, central and eastern chimpanzee subspecies designations correspond to clusters of individuals with similar allele frequencies that can be defined from the genetic data without regard to the population labels.
I wonder which closely related species has groups whose members can be identified from the genetic data without regard to the population labels...

Interestingly, some individuals from this study were found to be admixed from the different subspecies, and these were invariable domesticated:
Moreover, we find little evidence for admixture between groups in the wild.
Can you guess which closely related species has been recently domesticated?

PLoS Genetics (online early)

Genetic structure of chimpanzee populations

Celine Becquet et al.

Little is known about the history and population structure of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, in part because of an extremely poor fossil record. To address this, we report the largest genetic study of the chimpanzees to date, examining 310 microsatellites in 84 common chimpanzees and bonobos. We infer three common chimpanzee populations, which correspond to the previously defined labels of "western", "central" and "eastern", and find little evidence of gene flow between them. There is tentative evidence for structure within western chimpanzees but we do not detect distinct additional populations. The data also provide historical insights, demonstrating that the western chimpanzee population diverged first, and that the eastern and central populations are more closely related in time.


No comments: