Population Genomics Reveal Recent Speciation and Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Polar Bears

Liu, Shiping
Lorenzen, Eline D.
Fumagalli, Matteo
Li, Bo
Harris, Kelley
Xiong, Zijun
Zhou, Long
Korneliussen, Thorfinn Sand
Somel, Mehmet
Babbitt, Courtney
Wray, Greg
Li, Jianwen
He, Weiming
Wang, Zhuo
Fu, Wenjing
Xiang, Xueyan
Morgan, Claire C.
Doherty, Aoife
O'Connell, Mary J.
McInerney, James O.
Born, Erik W.
Dalen, Love
Dietz, Rune
Orlando, Ludovic
Sonne, Christian
Zhang, Guojie
Nielsen, Rasmus
Willerslev, Eske
Wang, Jun
Polar bears are uniquely adapted to life in the High Arctic and have undergone drastic physiological changes in response to Arctic climates and a hyper-lipid diet of primarily marine mammal prey. We analyzed 89 complete genomes of polar bear and brown bear using population genomic modeling and show that the species diverged only 479-343 thousand years BP. We find that genes on the polar bear lineage have been under stronger positive selection than in brown bears; nine of the top 16 genes under strong positive selection are associated with cardiomyopathy and vascular disease, implying important reorganization of the cardiovascular system. One of the genes showing the strongest evidence of selection, APOB, encodes the primary lipoprotein component of low-density lipoprotein (LDL); functional mutations in APOB may explain how polar bears are able to cope with life-long elevated LDL levels that are associated with high risk of heart disease in humans.


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Plants can not escape from biotic and abiotic stress factors such as, extreme temperatures, high light intensity, drought, UV radiation, heavy metals, and pathogen attack. Plants have versatile defens systems against such stress conditions. In this study, the role of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) in cold stress conditions were examined. Glutathione S-transferases are the enzymes that detoxify natural and exogenous toxic compounds by conjugation with glutathione. Glutathione, an endogenous tripeptide, is...
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Nearly 70% of the world's mountain ungulate taxa are endangered. The availability of a standard set of DNA markers for forensic and molecular ecology studies would help to establish conservation programs and detect poaching activities of these endangered taxa. We tested 60 published microsatellite primer pairs from bovids (cattle, sheep and goat) on 49 individuals from 11 taxa including six wild goat-like species (Capra spp.), three divergent wild sheep (Ovis spp.), and two chamois (Rupicapra spp.) species....
Genomic and Strontium Isotope Variation Reveal Immigration Patterns in a Viking Age Town
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The impact of human mobility on the northern European urban populations during the Viking and Early Middle Ages and its repercussions in Scandinavia itself are still largely unexplored. Our study of the demographics in the final phase of the Viking era is the first comprehensive multidisciplinary investigation that includes genetics, isotopes, archaeology, and osteology on a larger scale. This early Christian dataset is particularly important as the earlier common pagan burial tradition during the Iron Age ...
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Scandinavia was one of the last geographic areas in Europe to become habitable for humans after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). However, the routes and genetic composition of these postglacial migrants remain unclear. We sequenced the genomes, up to 57x coverage, of seven hunter-gatherers excavated across Scandinavia and dated from 9,500-6,000 years before present (BP). Surprisingly, among the Scandinavian Mesolithic individuals, the genetic data display an east-west genetic gradient that opposes the patter...
Impacts of multistressors on the survival and life history traits of Daphnia Pulex
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As Daphnia have an important role in freshwater food webs, it is important to understand how environmental stressors affect their survival and life history traits. Daphnia pulex were first acutely exposed to a combination of NaCl salinities (0.00-10.0 g/L) and fish-exuded kairomone. The 24 and 48 hour LC50 values were 0.401 and 0.159 g/L in kairomone-absence and 1.962 and 1.007 g/L in kairomone-presence. Hence, survival decreased with increasing salinity, while the kairomone enhanced daphnid resistance to s...
Citation Formats
S. Liu et al., “Population Genomics Reveal Recent Speciation and Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Polar Bears,” CELL, pp. 785–794, 2014, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/44818.