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Microsatellite genotyping reveals end-Pleistocene decline in mammoth autosomal genetic variation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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2012 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 21, no 14, 3391-3402 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The last glaciation was a dynamic period with strong impact on the demography of many species and populations. In recent years, mitochondrial DNA sequences retrieved from radiocarbon-dated remains have provided novel insights into the history of Late Pleistocene populations. However, genotyping of loci from the nuclear genome may provide enhanced resolution of population-level changes. Here, we use four autosomal microsatellite DNA markers to investigate the demographic history of woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) in north-eastern Siberia from before 60 000 years ago up until the species final disappearance c. 4000 years ago. We identified two genetic groups, implying a marked temporal genetic differentiation between samples with radiocarbon ages older than 12 thousand radiocarbon years before present (ka) and those younger than 9 ka. Simulation-based analysis indicates that this dramatic change in genetic composition, which included a decrease in individual heterozygosity of approximately 30%, was due to a multifold reduction in effective population size. A corresponding reduction in genetic variation was also detected in the mitochondrial DNA, where about 65% of the diversity was lost. We observed no further loss in genetic variation during the Holocene, which suggests a rapid final extinction event.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 21, no 14, 3391-3402 p.
Keyword [en]
ancient DNA, extinction, glaciation, Mammuthus primigenius, megafauna, palaeogenetics
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80413DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05525.xISI: 000306087100004OAI: diva2:556243


Available from: 2012-09-24 Created: 2012-09-19 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Nyström, VeronicaLidén, KerstinAngerbjörn, Anders
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