The evolutionary and phylogeographic history of woolly mammoths: A comprehensive mitogenomic analysis

Dan Chang, Michael Knapp, Jacob Enk, Sebastian Lippold, Martin Kircher, Adrian Lister, Ross D.E. Macphee, Christopher Widga, Paul Czechowski, Robert Sommer, Emily Hodges, Nikolaus Stümpel, Ian Barnes, Love Dalén, Anatoly Derevianko, Mietje Germonpré, Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu, Silviu Constantin, Tatyana Kuznetsova, Dick MolThomas Rathgeber, Wilfried Rosendahl, Alexey N. Tikhonov, Eske Willerslev, Greg Hannon, Carles Lalueza-Fox, Ulrich Joger, Hendrik Poinar, Michael Hofreiter, Beth Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Near the end of the Pleistocene epoch, populations of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) were distributed across parts of three continents, from western Europe and northern Asia through Beringia to the Atlantic seaboard of North America. Nonetheless, questions about the connectivity and temporal continuity of mammoth populations and species remain unanswered. We use a combination of targeted enrichment and high-throughput sequencing to assemble and interpret a data set of 143 mammoth mitochondrial genomes, sampled from fossils recovered from across their Holarctic range. Our dataset includes 54 previously unpublished mitochondrial genomes and significantly increases the coverage of the Eurasian range of the species. The resulting global phylogeny confirms that the Late Pleistocene mammoth population comprised three distinct mitochondrial lineages that began to diverge ∼1.0-2.0 million years ago (Ma). We also find that mammoth mitochondrial lineages were strongly geographically partitioned throughout the Pleistocene. In combination, our genetic results and the pattern of morphological variation in time and space suggest that male-mediated gene flow, rather than large-scale dispersals, was important in the Pleistocene evolutionary history of mammoths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44585
JournalScientific reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 22 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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