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Mitogenome evolution in the last surviving woolly mammoth population reveals neutral and functional consequences of small population size
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9350-1987
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden; Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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2017 (English)In: Evolution Letters, ISSN 2056-3744, Vol. 1, no 6, 292-303 p.Article in journal, Letter (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The onset of the Holocene was associated with a global temperature increase, which led to a rise in sea levels and isolation of the last surviving population of woolly mammoths on Wrangel Island. Understanding what happened with the population's genetic diversity at the time of the isolation and during the ensuing 6000 years can help clarify the effects of bottlenecks and subsequent limited population sizes in species approaching extinction. Previous genetic studies have highlighted questions about how the Holocene Wrangel population was established and how the isolation event affected genetic diversity. Here, we generated high-quality mitogenomes from 21 radiocarbon-dated woolly mammoths to compare the ancestral large and genetically diverse Late Pleistocene Siberian population and the small Holocene Wrangel population. Our results indicate that mitogenome diversity was reduced to one single haplotype at the time of the isolation, and thus that the Holocene Wrangel Island population was established by a single maternal lineage. Moreover, we show that the ensuing small effective population size coincided with fixation of a nonsynonymous mutation, and a comparative analysis of mutation rates suggests that the evolutionary rate was accelerated in the Holocene population. These results suggest that isolation on Wrangel Island led to an increase in the frequency of deleterious genetic variation, and thus are consistent with the hypothesis that strong genetic drift in small populations leads to purifying selection being less effective in removing deleterious mutations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 1, no 6, 292-303 p.
Keyword [en]
Mammuthus primigenius, mitochondrial genomes, woolly mammoth, Wrangel Island
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Systematic Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149647DOI: 10.1002/evl3.33OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149647DiVA: diva2:1163637
Available from: 2017-12-07 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2017-12-21Bibliographically approved
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