miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014

Around the world in 400,000 years: Journey of the red fox



University of California - Davis. Imagine attempting to trace your genetic history using only information from your mother's side. That's what scientists studying the evolution of the red fox had been doing for decades. Now, University of California, Davis, researchers have for the first time investigated ancestry across the red fox genome, including the Y chromosome, or paternal line. The data, compiled for over 1,000 individuals from all over the world, expose some surprises about the origins, journey and evolution of the red fox, the world's most widely distributed land carnivore.

"The genome and the information it contains about our ancestry and evolution is huge," said lead author Mark Statham, an assistant project scientist with the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. "If you're only looking at what your mother's mother's mother did, you're only getting a small portion of the story."

The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Ecology, represents the most globally comprehensive work yet on the red fox.

Conventional thinking based on maternal genetics suggested that red foxes of Eurasia and North America composed a single interconnected population across the Bering land bridge between Asia and Alaska. In contrast, this new research shows that the red foxes of North America and Eurasia have been almost entirely reproductively isolated from one another for roughly 400,000 years. During this time, the North American red fox evolved into a new species distinct from its Old World ancestors.

The previous view was distorted by the maternal picture because a single female line transferred from Asia to Alaska about 50,000 years ago. [...] sciencedaily.com