Saturday, April 11, 2015

Inbreeding Makes Mountain Gorillas Genetically Healthy

...scientists have discovered inbreeding has actually benefitted mountain gorillas by removing many harmful genetic variations. They are also genetically adapted to living in small populations.

The authors of the findings, published in the journal Science, said it is the first project to sequence whole genomes from mountain gorillas.

"We worried that the dramatic decline in the 1980s would be catastrophic for mountain gorillas in the long term, but our genetic analyses suggest that gorillas have been coping with small population sizes for thousands of years," said lead author Dr Yali Xue, from the Sanger Institute.

"While comparable levels of inbreeding contributed to the extinction of our relatives, the Neanderthals, mountain gorillas may be more resilient. There is no reason why they should not flourish for thousands of years to come."

Full story here.

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