Genome sequence, population history, and pelage genetics of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)

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Abstract

© 2016 The Author(s). Background: The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) is an endangered African canid threatened by severe habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife conflict, and infectious disease. A highly specialized carnivore, it is distinguished by its social structure, dental morphology, absence of dewclaws, and colorful pelage. Results: We sequenced the genomes of two individuals from populations representing two distinct ecological histories (Laikipia County, Kenya and KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa). We reconstructed population demographic histories for the two individuals and scanned the genomes for evidence of selection. Conclusions: We show that the African wild dog has undergone at least two effective population size reductions in the last 1,000,000 years. We found evidence of Lycaon individual-specific regions of low diversity, suggestive of inbreeding or population-specific selection. Further research is needed to clarify whether these population reductions and low diversity regions are characteristic of the species as a whole. We documented positive selection on the Lycaon mitochondrial genome. Finally, we identified several candidate genes (ASIP, MITF, MLPH, PMEL) that may play a role in the characteristic Lycaon pelage.

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Campana, M. G., Parker, L. D., Hawkins, M. T. R., Young, H. S., Helgen, K. M., Szykman Gunther, M., … Fleischer, R. C. (2016, December 9). Genome sequence, population history, and pelage genetics of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). BMC Genomics. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-016-3368-9

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