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Journal Article

Mitochondrial sequences show diverse evolutionary histories of African hominoids

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Gagneux, P., Wills, C., Gerloff, U., Tautz, D., Morin, P. A., Boesch, C., et al. (1999). Mitochondrial sequences show diverse evolutionary histories of African hominoids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 96(9), 5077-5082. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.9.5077.

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Phylogenetic trees for the four extant species of African hominoids are presented, based on mtDNA control region-1 sequences from 1,158 unique haplotypes. We include 83 new haplotypes of western chimpanzees and bonobos. Phylogenetic analysis of this enlarged database, which takes intraspecific geographic variability into account, reveals different patterns of evolution among species and great heterogeneity in species-level variation. Several chimpanzee and bonobo clades (and even single social groups) have retained substantially more mitochondrial variation than is seen in the entire human species, Among the 811 human haplotypes, those that branch off early are predominantly but not exclusively African. Neighbor joining trees provide strong evidence that eastern chimpanzee and human clades have experienced reduced effective population sizes, the latter apparently since the Homo sapiens-neanderthalensis split. Application of topiary pruning resolves ambiguities in the phylogenetic tree that are attributable to homoplasies in the data set. The diverse patterns of mtDNA sequence variation seen in today's hominoid taxa probably reflect historical differences in ecological plasticity, female-biased dispersal, range fragmentation over differing periods of time, and competition among social groups. These results are relevant to the origin of zoonotic diseases, including HIV-1, and call into question some aspects of the current taxonomic treatment and conservation management of gorillas and chimpanzees.