• Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation

      Zhang, Guojie; Li, Cai; Li, Qiye; Li, Bo; Larkin, Denis M.; Lee, Chul; Storz, Jay F.; Antunes, Agostinho; Greenwold, Matthew J.; Meredith, Robert W.; et al. (2014)
      Birds are the most species-rich class of tetrapod vertebrates and have wide relevance across many research fields. We explored bird macroevolution using full genomes from 48 avian species representing all major extant clades....
    • Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells from orangutan skin fibroblasts

      Ramaswamy, Krishna; Yik, Wing Yan; Wang, Xiao-Ming; Oliphant, Erin N.; Lu, Wange; Shibata, Darryl; Ryder, Oliver A.; Hacia, Joseph G. (2015)
      Background Orangutans are an endangered species whose natural habitats are restricted to the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Along with the African great apes, orangutans are among the closest living relatives to humans. For potential species conservation and functional genomics studies, we derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from cryopreserved somatic cells obtained from captive orangutans. Results Primary skin fibroblasts from two Sumatran orangutans were transduced with retroviral vectors expressing the human OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC factors. Candidate orangutan iPSCs were characterized by global gene expression and DNA copy number analysis. All were consistent with pluripotency and provided no evidence of large genomic insertions or deletions. In addition, orangutan iPSCs were capable of producing cells derived from all three germ layers in vitro through embryoid body differentiation assays and in vivo through teratoma formation in immune-compromised mice. Conclusions We demonstrate that orangutan skin fibroblasts are capable of being reprogrammed into iPSCs with hallmark molecular signatures and differentiation potential. We suggest that reprogramming orangutan somatic cells in genome resource banks could provide new opportunities for advancing assisted reproductive technologies relevant for species conservation efforts. Furthermore, orangutan iPSCs could have applications for investigating the phenotypic relevance of genomic changes that occurred in the human, African great ape, and/or orangutan lineages. This provides opportunities for orangutan cell culture models that would otherwise be impossible to develop from living donors due to the invasive nature of the procedures required for obtaining primary cells.
    • Ecological specialization and morphological diversification in Greater Antillean boas

      Reynolds, R. Graham; Collar David C.; Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Niemiller Matthew L.; Puente-Rolón, Alberto R.; Revell, Liam J. (2016)
      Colonization of islands can dramatically influence the evolutionary trajectories of organisms, with both deterministic and stochastic processes driving adaptation and diversification. Some island colonists evolve extremely large or small body sizes, presumably in response to unique ecological circumstances present on islands. One example of this phenomenon, the Greater Antillean boas, includes both small (<90 cm) and large (4 m) species occurring on the Greater Antilles and Bahamas, with some islands supporting pairs or trios of body‐size divergent species. These boas have been shown to comprise a monophyletic radiation arising from a Miocene dispersal event to the Greater Antilles, though it is not known whether co‐occurrence of small and large species is a result of dispersal or in situ evolution. Here, we provide the first comprehensive species phylogeny for this clade combined with morphometric and ecological data to show that small body size evolved repeatedly on separate islands in association with specialization in substrate use. Our results further suggest that microhabitat specialization is linked to increased rates of head shape diversification among specialists. Our findings show that ecological specialization following island colonization promotes morphological diversity through deterministic body size evolution and cranial morphological diversification that is contingent on island‐ and species‐specific factors.
    • Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversity

      Kalan, Ammie K.; Kulik, Lars; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Boesch, Christophe; Haas, Fabian; Dieguez, Paula; Barratt, Christopher D.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Agbor, Anthony; Angedakin, Samuel; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020)
      Large brains and behavioural innovation are positively correlated, species-specific traits, associated with the behavioural flexibility animals need for adapting to seasonal and unpredictable habitats. Similar ecological challenges would have been important drivers throughout human evolution. However, studies examining the influence of environmental variability on within-species behavioural diversity are lacking despite the critical assumption that population diversification precedes genetic divergence and speciation. Here, using a dataset of 144 wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) communities, we show that chimpanzees exhibit greater behavioural diversity in environments with more variability — in both recent and historical timescales. Notably, distance from Pleistocene forest refugia is associated with the presence of a larger number of behavioural traits, including both tool and non-tool use behaviours. Since more than half of the behaviours investigated are also likely to be cultural, we suggest that environmental variability was a critical evolutionary force promoting the behavioural, as well as cultural diversification of great apes.
    • Extreme selective sweeps independently targeted the X chromosomes of the great apes

      Nam, Kiwoong; Munch, Kasper; Hobolth, Asger; Dutheil, Julien Yann; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Woerner, August E.; Hammer, Michael F.; Great Ape Genome Diversity Project; Mailund, Thomas; Schierup, Mikkel Heide; et al. (2015)
      …We perform a comparative analysis of X chromosome polymorphism in 10 great ape species, including humans. In most species, we identify striking megabase-wide regions, where nucleotide diversity is less than 20% of the chromosomal average....
    • Frequency of behavior witnessed and conformity in an everyday social context

      Claidière, Nicolas; Bowler, Mark; Brookes, Sarah; Brown, Rebecca; Whiten, Andrew (2014)
      Conformity is thought to be an important force in human evolution because it has the potential to stabilize cultural homogeneity within groups and cultural diversity between groups. However, the effects of such conformity on cultural and biological evolution will depend much on the particular way in which individuals are influenced by the frequency of alternative behavioral options they witness. In a previous study we found that in a natural situation people displayed a tendency to be ‘linear-conformist’. When visitors to a Zoo exhibit were invited to write or draw answers to questions on cards to win a small prize and we manipulated the proportion of text versus drawings on display, we found a strong and significant effect of the proportion of text displayed on the proportion of text in the answers, a conformist effect that was largely linear with a small non-linear component. However, although this overall effect is important to understand cultural evolution, it might mask a greater diversity of behavioral responses shaped by variables such as age, sex, social environment and attention of the participants. Accordingly we performed a further study explicitly to analyze the effects of these variables, together with the quality of the information participants' responses made available to further visitors. Results again showed a largely linear conformity effect that varied little with the variables analyzed.
    • Great ape genetic diversity and population history

      Prado-Martinez, Javier; Sudmant, Peter H.; Kidd, Jeffrey M.; Li, Heng; Kelley, Joanna L.; Lorente-Galdos, Belen; Veeramah, Krishna R.; Woerner, August E.; O’Connor, Timothy D.; Santpere, Gabriel; et al. (2013)
      Most great ape genetic variation remains uncharacterized; however, its study is critical for understanding population history, recombination, selection and susceptibility to disease. Here we sequence to high coverage a total of 79 wild- and captive-born individuals representing all six great ape species and seven subspecies and report 88.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms. Our analysis provides support for genetically distinct populations within each species, signals of gene flow, and the split of common chimpanzees into two distinct groups: Nigeria–Cameroon/western and central/eastern populations. We find extensive inbreeding in almost all wild populations, with eastern gorillas being the most extreme. Inferred effective population sizes have varied radically over time in different lineages and this appears to have a profound effect on the genetic diversity at, or close to, genes in almost all species. We discover and assign 1,982 loss-of-function variants throughout the human and great ape lineages, determining that the rate of gene loss has not been different in the human branch compared to other internal branches in the great ape phylogeny. This comprehensive catalogue of great ape genome diversity provides a framework for understanding evolution and a resource for more effective management of wild and captive great ape populations.
    • Hologenomic adaptations underlying the evolution of sanguivory in the common vampire bat

      Mendoza, M. Lisandra Zepeda; Xiong, Zijun; Escalera-Zamudio, Marina; Runge, Anne Kathrine; Thézé, Julien; Streicker, Daniel; Frank, Hannah K.; Loza-Rubio, Elizabeth; Liu, Shengmao; Ryder, Oliver A.; et al. (2018)
      The common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is one of only three obligate blood-feeding mammals. By sequencing both its genome and gut metagenome, the authors provide a holistic view of the evolutionary adaptations that underlie this unusual diet.
    • Low levels of fruit nitrogen as drivers for the evolution of Madagascar’s primate communities

      Donati, Giuseppe; Santini, Luca; Eppley, Timothy M.; Arrigo-Nelson, Summer J.; Balestri, Michela; Boinski, Sue; Bollen, An; Bridgeman, LeAndra L.; Campera, Marco; Carrai, Valentina; et al. (2017)
      The uneven representation of frugivorous mammals and birds across tropical regions – high in the New World, low in Madagascar and intermediate in Africa and Asia – represents a long-standing enigma in ecology. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain these differences but the ultimate drivers remain unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fruits in Madagascar contain insufficient nitrogen to meet primate metabolic requirements, thus constraining the evolution of frugivory. We performed a global analysis of nitrogen in fruits consumed by primates, as collated from 79 studies. Our results showed that average frugivory among lemur communities was lower compared to New World and Asian-African primate communities. Fruits in Madagascar contain lower average nitrogen than those in the New World and Old World. Nitrogen content in the overall diets of primate species did not differ significantly between major taxonomic radiations. There is no relationship between fruit protein and the degree of frugivory among primates either globally or within regions, with the exception of Madagascar. This suggests that low protein availability in fruits influences current lemur communities to select for protein from other sources, whereas in the New World and Old World other factors are more significant in shaping primate communities.
    • Molecular phylogeny and chromosomal evolution of Alcelaphini (Antilopinae)

      Steiner, Cynthia C.; Charter, Suellen J.; Houck, Marlys L.; Ryder, Oliver A. (2014)
      Robertsonian (Rb) translocations, in particular centric fusions, are thought to play a primary role in evolution and speciation of the Bovidae family....This work studies chromosome variation in 72 captive individuals of 6 species of Alcelaphini (Antilopinae): The hartebeest (genus Alcelaphus), hirola (Beatragus), black and blue wildebeests (Connochaetes), and the topi and bontebok (Damaliscus)….
    • Phylogeography of the endangered Lesser Antillean iguana, Iguana delicatissima: a recent diaspora in an archipelago known for ancient herpetological endemism

      Martin, Jessica L.; Knapp, Charles R.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Thorpe, Roger S; Welch, Mark E. (2015)
      Iguana delicatissima is an endangered endemic of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Phylogeographic analyses for many terrestrial vertebrate species in the Caribbean, particularly lizards, suggest ancient divergence times. Often, the closest relatives of species are found on the same island, indicating that colonization rates are so low that speciation on islands is often more likely to generate biodiversity than subsequent colonization events…. Despite the great distances between islands and habitat heterogeneity within islands, this species is characterized by low haplotype diversity.
    • Pitheciins: Use of time and space

      Setz, E.Z.F.; Pinto, L.P.; Bowler, Mark; Barnett, A.A.; Vie, J.C.; Barnett, A.A.; Veiga, L.M.; Ferrari, S.F.; Norconk, M.A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse

      Orlando, Ludovic; Ginolhac, Aurélien; Zhang, Guojie; Froese, Duane; Albrechtsen, Anders; Stiller, Mathias; Schubert, Mikkel; Cappellini, Enrico; Petersen, Bent; Moltke, Ida; et al. (2013)
      …We estimate that the Przewalski’s and domestic horse populations diverged 38–72 kyr bp, and find no evidence of recent admixture between the domestic horse breeds and the Przewalski’s horse investigated. This supports the contention that Przewalski’s horses represent the last surviving wild horse population….
    • Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse

      Orlando, Ludovic; Ginolhac, Aurélien; Zhang, Guojie; Froese, Duane; Albrechtsen, Anders; Stiller, Mathias; Schubert, Mikkel; Cappellini, Enrico; Petersen, Bent; Moltke, Ida; et al. (2013)
      Here we present a 1.12-times coverage draft genome from a horse bone recovered from permafrost dated to approximately 560–780 thousand years before present (kyr BP). Our data represent the oldest full genome sequence determined so far by almost an order of magnitude. For comparison, we sequenced the genome of a Late Pleistocene horse (43 kyr BP), and modern genomes of five domestic horse breeds (Equus ferus caballus), a Przewalski’s horse (E. f. przewalskii) and a donkey (E. asinus)....
    • The i5K Initiative: Advancing arthropod genomics for knowledge, human health, agriculture, and the environment

      Evans, Jay D.; Brown, Susan J.; Hackett, Kevin J.; Robinson, Gene; Richards, Stephen; Lawson, Daniel; Elsik, Christine; Coddington, Jonathan; Edwards, Owain; Emrich, Scott; et al. (2013)
      Insects and their arthropod relatives including mites, spiders, and crustaceans play major roles in the world’s terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. Arthropods compete with humans for food and transmit devastating diseases. They also comprise the most diverse and successful branch of metazoan evolution, with millions of extant species. Here, we describe an international effort to guide arthropod genomic efforts, from species prioritization to methodology and informatics. The 5000 arthropod genomes initiative (i5K) community met formally in 2012 to discuss a roadmap for sequencing and analyzing 5000 high-priority arthropods and is continuing this effort via pilot projects, the development of standard operating procedures, and training of students and career scientists. With university, governmental, and industry support, the i5K Consortium aspires to deliver sequences and analytical tools for each of the arthropod branches and each of the species having beneficial and negative effects on humankind.
    • The population genetics of wild chimpanzees in Cameroon and Nigeria suggests a positive role for selection in the evolution of chimpanzee subspecies

      Mitchell, Matthew W.; Locatelli, Sabrina; Ghobrial, Lora; Pokempner, Amy A.; Sesink Clee, Paul R.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Nicholas, Aaron; Nkembi, Louis; Anthony, Nicola M.; Morgan, Bethan J.; et al. (2015)
      Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can be divided into four subspecies. Substantial phylogenetic evidence suggests that these subspecies can be grouped into two distinct lineages: a western African group that includes P. t. verus and P. t. ellioti and a central/eastern African group that includes P. t. troglodytes and P. t. schweinfurthii. The geographic division of these two lineages occurs in Cameroon, where the rages of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to converge at the Sanaga River. Remarkably, few population genetic studies have included wild chimpanzees from this region.
    • Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds

      Jarvis, Erich D.; Mirarab, Siavash; Aberer, Andre J.; Li, Bo; Houde, Peter; Li, Cai; Ho, Simon Y. W.; Faircloth, Brant C.; Nabholz, Benoit; Howard, Jason T.; et al. (2014)
      To better determine the history of modern birds, we performed a genome-scale phylogenetic analysis of 48 species representing all orders of Neoaves using phylogenomic methods created to handle genome-scale data. We recovered a highly resolved tree that confirms previously controversial sister or close relationships.....
    • X chromosome evolution in Cetartiodactyla

      Proskuryakova, Anastasia A.; Kulemzina, Anastasia I.; Perelman, Polina L.; Makunin, Alexey I.; Larkin, Denis M.; Farré, Marta; Kukekova, Anna V.; Lynn Johnson, Jennifer; Lemskaya, Natalya A.; Beklemisheva, Violetta R.; et al. (2017)
      The phenomenon of a remarkable conservation of the X chromosome in eutherian mammals has been first described by Susumu Ohno in 1964. A notable exception is the cetartiodactyl X chromosome, which varies widely in morphology and G-banding pattern between species. It is hypothesized that this sex chromosome has undergone multiple rearrangements that changed the centromere position and the order of syntenic segments over the last 80 million years of Cetartiodactyla speciation. To investigate its evolution we have selected 26 evolutionarily conserved bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from the cattle CHORI-240 library evenly distributed along the cattle X chromosome. High-resolution BAC maps of the X chromosome on a representative range of cetartiodactyl species from different branches: pig (Suidae), alpaca (Camelidae), gray whale (Cetacea), hippopotamus (Hippopotamidae), Java mouse-deer (Tragulidae), pronghorn (Antilocapridae), Siberian musk deer (Moschidae), and giraffe (Giraffidae) were obtained by fluorescent in situ hybridization. To trace the X chromosome evolution during fast radiation in specious families, we performed mapping in several cervids (moose, Siberian roe deer, fallow deer, and Pere David’s deer) and bovid (muskox, goat, sheep, sable antelope, and cattle) species. We have identified three major conserved synteny blocks and rearrangements in different cetartiodactyl lineages and found that the recently described phenomenon of the evolutionary new centromere emergence has taken place in the X chromosome evolution of Cetartiodactyla at least five times. We propose the structure of the putative ancestral cetartiodactyl X chromosome by reconstructing the order of syntenic segments and centromere position for key groups.