Inbreeding Helps Endangered Mountain Gorillas to Survive

April 11, 2015 10:32 AM

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Co-author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Chris Tyler-Smith, stated “Mountain gorillas are among the most intensively studied primates in the wild, but this is the first in depth, whole genome analysis.” Tyler-Smith further added “3 years on from sequencing the gorilla reference genome, we can now compare the genomes of all gorilla populations, including the critically endangered mountain gorilla, and to understand their similarities and differences and the genetic impact of inbreeding.” With the help of preservation endeavors, the population of mountain gorillas has presently bounced back to 480.

For the study, the researchers collected blood samples from mountain gorillas and their neighbors, the eastern lowland gorillas. It was found that they were 2 to 3 times less genetically diverse than gorillas from larger groups in western regions of central Africa. The analysis also unveiled that th...

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