Patterns of genetic variation within and between gibbon species
- Sung K. Kim1,*,
- Lucia Carbone2,3,*,
- Celine Becquet1,
- Alan R. Mootnick4,
- David Jiang Li2,
- Pieter J. de Jong2 and
- Jeffrey D. Wall1,5
- 1Institute for Human Genetics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- 2Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA
- 3Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
- 4Gibbon Conservation Center, Santa Clarita, CA
- 5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- Address for correspondence: Jeff Wall, University of California, San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Ave., S965, San Francisco, CA 94143, Phone: (415)-476-4063, Fax: (415)-476-1356, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Received November 24, 2010.
- Revision received January 24, 2011.
- Accepted January 29, 2011.
Gibbons are small, arboreal, highly endangered apes that are understudied compared with other hominoids. At present there are four recognized genera and approximately 17 species, all likely to have diverged from each other within the last 5 - 6 million years. Although the gibbon phylogeny has been investigated using various approaches (i.e. vocalization, morphology, mitochondrial DNA, karyotype, etc.), the precise taxonomic relationships are still highly debated. Here we present the first survey of nuclear sequence variation within and between gibbon species with the goal of estimating basic population genetic parameters. We gathered ∼60 Kb of sequence data from a panel of 19 gibbons representing nine species and all four genera. We observe high levels of nucleotide diversity within species, indicative of large historical population sizes. In addition, we find low levels of genetic differentiation between species within a genus, comparable to what has been estimated for human populations. This is likely due to ongoing or episodic gene flow between species, and we estimate a migration rate between Nomascus leucogenys and N. gabriellae of roughly one migrant every two generations. Together, our findings suggest that gibbons have had a complex demographic history involving hybridization or mixing between diverged populations.