[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Pleistocene epoch was a period of dramatic climate change that had profound impacts on the population sizes of many animal species. How these species were shaped by past events is often unclear, hindering our understanding of the population dynamics resulting in present day populations. We analyzed complete mitochondrial genomes representing all four recognized chimpanzee subspecies and the bonobo to infer the recent demographic history and used simulations to exclude a confounding effect of population structure. Our genus-wide Bayesian coalescent-based analysis revealed surprisingly dissimilar demographic histories of the chimpanzee subspecies and the bonobo, despite their overlapping habitat requirements. Whereas the central and eastern chimpanzee subspecies were inferred to have expanded tenfold between around 50,000 and 80,000 years ago and today, the population size of the neighboring bonobo remained constant. The changes in population size are likely linked to changes in habitat area due to climate oscillations during the late Pleistocene. Furthermore, the timing of population expansion for the rainforest-adapted chimpanzee is concurrent with the expansion of the savanna-adapted human, which could suggest a common response to changed climate conditions around 50,000-80,000 years ago.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite ample focus on this endangered species, conservation planning for chimpanzees residing outside Africa has proven a challenge because of the lack of ancestry information. Here, we analysed the largest number of chimpanzee samples to date, examining microsatellites in >100 chimpanzees from the range of the species in Africa, and 20% of the European zoo population. We applied the knowledge about subspecies differentiation throughout equatorial Africa to assign origin to chimpanzees in the largest conservation management programme globally. A total of 63% of the genotyped chimpanzees from the European zoos could be assigned to one of the recognized subspecies. The majority being of West African origin (40%) will help consolidate the current breeding programme for this subspecies and the identification of individuals belonging to the two other subspecies so far found in European zoos can form the basis for breeding programmes for these. Individuals of various degree of mixed ancestry made up 37% of the genotyped European zoo population and thus highlight the need for appropriate management programmes guided by genetic analysis to preserve maximum genetic diversity and reduce hybridization among subspecies.Heredity advance online publication, 27 March 2013; doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.9.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Surveying genome-wide coding variation within and among species gives unprecedented power to study the genetics of adaptation, in particular the proportion of amino acid substitutions fixed by positive selection. Additionally, contrasting the autosomes and the X chromosome holds information on the dominance of beneficial (adaptive) and deleterious mutations. Here we capture and sequence the complete exomes of 12 chimpanzees and present the largest set of protein-coding polymorphism to date. We report extensive adaptive evolution specifically targeting the X chromosome of chimpanzees with as much as 30% of all amino acid replacements being adaptive. Adaptive evolution is barely detectable on the autosomes except for a few striking cases of recent selective sweeps associated with immunity gene clusters. We also find much stronger purifying selection than observed in humans, and in contrast to humans, we find that purifying selection is stronger on the X chromosome than on the autosomes in chimpanzees. We therefore conclude that most adaptive mutations are recessive. We also document dramatically reduced synonymous diversity in the chimpanzee X chromosome relative to autosomes and stronger purifying selection than for the human X chromosome. If similar processes were operating in the human-chimpanzee ancestor as in central chimpanzees today, our results therefore provide an explanation for the much-discussed reduction in the human-chimpanzee divergence at the X chromosome.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2012; 109(6):2054-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chimpanzees are naturally and asymptomatically infected by simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Pathogenic properties of SIV/HIV vary and differences in susceptibility and pathogenicity of SIV/HIV depend in part on host-specific factors such as virus-receptor/co-receptor interactions. Since CD4 plays a primary role in virus binding and since SIVcpz have been found only in two African chimpanzee subspecies, we characterized the genetic diversity of CD4 receptors in all four recognized subspecies of chimpanzees. We found noticeable variation in the first variable region V1 of CD4 and in intron six among the subspecies of chimpanzees. We found the CD4 receptor to be conserved in individuals belonging to the P. t. verus subspecies and divergent from the other three subspecies, which harbored highly variable CD4 receptors. The CD4 receptor of chimpanzees differed from that of humans. We question whether the observed diversity can explain the species-specific differences in susceptibility to and pathogenicity of SIV/HIV.