News Column

New Findings in DNA Research Described from Natural History Museum

May 20, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Data detailed on DNA Research have been presented. According to news reporting originating from Paris, France, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Understanding the demographic history of a population is critical to conservation and to our broader understanding of evolutionary processes. For many tropical large mammals, however, this aim is confounded by the absence of fossil material and by the misleading signal obtained from genetic data of recently fragmented and isolated populations."

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Natural History Museum, "This is particularly true for the lion which as a consequence of millennia of human persecution, has large gaps in its natural distribution and several recently extinct populations. We sequenced mitochondrial DNA from museum-preserved individuals, including the extinct Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) and Iranian lion (P. l. persica), as well as lions from West and Central Africa. We added these to a broader sample of lion sequences, resulting in a data set spanning the historical range of lions. Our Bayesian phylogeographical analyses provide evidence for highly supported, reciprocally monophyletic lion clades. Using a molecular clock, we estimated that recent lion lineages began to diverge in the Late Pleistocene. Expanding equatorial rainforest probably separated lions in South and East Africa from other populations. West African lions then expanded into Central Africa during periods of rainforest contraction. Lastly, we found evidence of two separate incursions into Asia from North Africa, first into India and later into the Middle East. We have identified deep, well-supported splits within the mitochondrial phylogeny of African lions, arguing for recognition of some regional populations as worthy of independent conservation."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "More morphological and nuclear DNA data are now needed to test these subdivisions."

For more information on this research see: Revealing the maternal demographic history of Panthera leo using ancient DNA and a spatially explicit genealogical analysis. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2014;14():1-11. BMC Evolutionary Biology can be contacted at: Biomed Central Ltd, 236 Grays Inn Rd, Floor 6, London WC1X 8HL, England. (BioMed Central -; BMC Evolutionary Biology -

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting R. Barnett, Museum Natl Hist Nat, F-75005 Paris, France. Additional authors for this research include N. Yamaguchi, B. Shapiro, S.Y.W. Ho, I. Barnes, R. Sabin, L. Werdelin, J. Cuisin and G. Larson (see also DNA Research).

Keywords for this news article include: Paris, France, Europe, DNA Research

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Source: Life Science Weekly

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