News from CEXS-UPF and IBE
A study led by Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, ICREA researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF) and the Centro Nacional de Analisis Genomico (CNAG-CRG), together with Christina Hvilsom, researcher at the Copenhagen Zoo, reveals ancient admixture events among the extant species closest to humans: bonobos and chimpanzees. It is the first study to reveal admixture among the species similar to what has been reported between humans and Neanderthals.
The studied samples, comprising 75 complete genomes of chimpanzees and bonobos sequenced at the CNAG-CRG, cover 10 countries in Africa, from the westernmost to the easternmost region of the chimpanzee range. The results have direct application to the conservation of these species because they permit the detection of the origin of chimpanzees confiscated from illegal trafficking.
The researchers have found that central and eastern chimpanzees share significantly more genetic material with bonobos than other chimpanzee subspecies do. Thus, it is believed that the admixture between bonobos and chimpanzees occurred during two different episodes: the first one, less than 500,000 years ago and the second one more recently, less than 200,000 years ago.
de Manuel, M.; Kuhlwilm, M.; Frandsen, P.; Sousa, V.C.; Desai, T.; Prado-Martinez, J.; Hernandez-Rodriguez, J.; Dupanloup, I.; Lao, O.; Hallast, P.; Schmidt, J.M.; Heredia-Genestar, J.M.; Benazzo, A.; Barbujani, G.; Peter, B.P.; Kuderna, L.F.K.; Casals, F.; Angedakin, S.; Arandjelovic, M.; Boesch, C.; Kühl, H.; Vigilant, L.; Langergraber, K.; Novembre, J.; Gut, M.; Gut, I.; Navarro, A.; Carlsen, F.; Andrés, A.M.; Siegismund, H.R.; Scally, A.; Excoffier, L.; Tyler-Smith, C.; Castellano, S.; Xue, Y.; Hvilsom, C.; and Marques-Bonet, T. (2016). Chimpanzee genomic diversity reveals ancient admixture with bonobos. Science
Chimpanzees at Ngogo Chimpanzee Project (Uganda) - Kevin Kevin Langergraber
You can read an interview about this study here