Recent loss of genetic diversity in eastern gorillas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many primate populations are declining as a result of human activities. Eastern gorillas are the most affected of all great apes. Understanding the genomic consequences of rapid declines is important for assessing conservation needs. Genomic analyses of museum specimens that predate the most recent changes allow for quantification of the genomic effects of population declines and extinctions. Grauer's gorillas, one of the two Eastern gorilla subspecies, have declined by almost 80% in the last two decades. Comparisons of genomic changes over the last 100 years revealed severe reduction in genetic diversity and increase in inbreeding and frequency of deleterious mutations. The other subspecies, the Mountain gorilla, has experienced little genomic change, possibly as a result of both long-term evolutionary history and recent conservation efforts over the last 60 years. There is thus hope for the critically endangered species if appropriate conservation actions are taken.
Original languageEnglish
JournaleLS
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • conservation genetics
  • grauer's gorilla
  • mountain gorilla
  • ancient DNA
  • population decline
  • mitochondria
  • whole genome sequencing
  • genetic diversity

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