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Surprising migration and population size dynamics in ancient Iberian brown bears (Ursus arctos)

Valdiosera Morales, Cristina and García Garitagoitia, José Luis and García, Nuria and Doabrio Villarejo, Ignacio and Thomas, Mark G. and Hänni, Catherine and Arsuaga, Juan Luis de and Barnes, Ian and Hofreiter, Michael and Orlando, Ludovic and Götherström, Anders (2008) Surprising migration and population size dynamics in ancient Iberian brown bears (Ursus arctos). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (13). pp. 5123-5128. ISSN 0027-8424

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Abstract

The endangered brown bear populations (Ursus arctos) in Iberia
have been suggested to be the last fragments of the brown bear
population that served as recolonization stock for large parts of
Europe during the Pleistocene. Conservation efforts are intense,
and results are closely monitored. However, the efforts are based
on the assumption that the Iberian bears are a unique unit that has
evolved locally for an extended period. We have sequenced mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) from ancient Iberian bear remains and
analyzed them as a serial dataset, monitoring changes in diversity
and occurrence of European haplogroups over time. Using these
data, we show that the Iberian bear population has experienced a
dynamic, recent evolutionary history. Not only has the population
undergone mitochondrial gene flow from other European brown
bears, but the effective population size also has fluctuated substantially.
We conclude that the Iberian bear population has been
a fluid evolutionary unit, developed by gene flow from other
populations and population bottlenecks, far from being in genetic
equilibrium or isolated from other brown bear populations. Thus,
the current situation is highly unusual and the population may in
fact be isolated for the first time in its history.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bottleneck; Gene flow; Mitochondrial DNA; Ancient DNA; Serial coalescent simulations
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:12250
Deposited On:16 Feb 2011 10:53
Last Modified:16 Feb 2011 10:53

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