Navigation Links
A mammoth task -- sorting out mammoth evolution
Date:5/30/2011

Mammoths were a diverse genus that roamed across Eurasia and North America during the Pleistocene era. In continental North America, at least two highly divergent species have long been recognized woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) and Columbian mammoths (M. columbi). But new genetic evidence published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology suggests that these species may have been closely related enough to mate when they had the chance.

Remains of woolly mammoths have been found across the glacial tundra-steppe of Eurasia and northern North America, while the much physically larger Columbian mammoths inhabited the savannah environments of temperate southern and central North America. The differences between the species have long been considered as unique adaptations to the environments where they evolved. But by piecing together trace fragments of DNA from an 11 thousand year-old Columbian mammoth from Fairview, Utah, a team of Canadian, American and French researchers found that surprisingly the mitochondrial genome from this mammoth was nearly indiscernible from that of its northern woolly counterparts.

But the group does not suspect that this requires a re-write of North American mammoth evolution. "We think this individual may have been a woolly-Columbian hybrid," says Jacob Enk of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre, the group that led the research. "Living African elephant species interbreed where their ranges adjoin, with males of the bigger species out-competing the smaller for mates. This results in mitochondrial genomes from the smaller species showing up in populations of the larger. Since woolly and Columbian ranges periodically overlapped in time and space, it's likely that they engaged in similar behaviour and left a similar genetic signal." The team goes on to suggest that interbreeding may explain some mammoth fossils that have intermediate physical characteristics, between woollies and Columbians, sometimes assigned to the species M. jeffersonii.

They do not rule out other explanations however, and note that the only way to know for sure whether their mammoth was a hybrid is to sequence nuclear DNA from it and other mammoths. For poorly-preserved remains like those of southern-ranging Columbians, this will be a challenge. But they expect that by exploiting new cutting-edge sequencing technologies, the nuclear genomes of these amazing animals are within reach.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Hilary Glover
hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22370
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Being good moms couldnt save the woolly mammoth
2. Dwindling green pastures, not hunting, may have killed off the mammoth
3. Extinction of woolly mammoths may have been due to addition of a predator: Humans
4. Trophic cascades of disruption may include loss of woolly mammoth, saber-toothed cat
5. After mastodons and mammoths, a transformed landscape
6. New discovery suggests mammoths survived in Britain until 14,000 years ago
7. Sorting device for analyzing biological reactions puts the power of a lab in a researcher’s pocket
8. Sorting the drivers from the passengers in the cancer genome
9. Genetic study clarifies evolutionary origin of elusive montane red fox
10. Study shows evolutionary adaptations can be reversed, but rarely
11. Selaginella genome adds piece to plant evolutionary puzzle
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. Mohamed ... received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative high security ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller General, ... picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for the "Most ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System Market is ... next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... all the given segments on global as well as regional levels ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant ... company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment ... as director of public safety business development. ... law enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation ... his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2017)... USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... (LANL), and Brian Lula, president of Physik Instrumente USA, have been selected as this ... and photonics . , The two have been invited along with other honorees to ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... , ... June 21, 2017 , ... ... office in North Carolina, and engages Timothy Reinhardt to manage the new site. ... leadership at Pfizer Inc, with his most recent role as the Director of ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... For the months of May ... Spotlight series on “Cell Therapy Regulation” for its regenerative medicine followship. ... the unique regulatory challenges of stem cell medical research. , Stem cell clinical ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... , ... June 22, 2017 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... The AMPH test was determined to be appropriate as a screening test at dairies ... on the Charm EZ system, and the Charm EZ Lite system. These systems are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: