The “biological species concept” is yet another textbook dead zone. From ScienceDaily:
Dr Addisu Mekonnen and colleagues at The University of Oslo, Norway, looked at the genetic diversity of the two populations of Bale monkeys. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA suggested strong genetic differences between the Bale monkeys who lived in continuous forests or fragmented forests. The researchers found that the populations of Bale monkeys were so different from each other that the Bale monkeys from fragmented forests were more similar to vervets and grivets than Bale monkeys from continuous forests.
Dr Addisu Mekonnen, corresponding author of the study, explains: “Remarkably, our phylogenetic analysis showed that Bale monkeys in fragmented forests are more closely related to their sister species, vervets and grivets, than Bale Monkeys from continuous forests. This suggests that hybridization had taken place between Bale monkeys from fragmented forests and vervet and grivet monkeys, but not with bale monkeys in continuous forests. This hybridization could be due to habitat fragmentation and close proximity to similar monkeys.”
Whatever it is due to, it shows that what we learn, teach, and believe about the genome and speciation is probably short of the facts.
The authors note that the genetic analysis should be interpreted with caution because they used a single and maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA locus that tells only the maternal history. The researchers explain that further future research focusing on bi-parentally and paternally inherited genetic markers, as well as morphological and ecological studies is needed to further understand the evolutionary history of this unusual and rare species. Paper. (open access) – Addisu Mekonnen, Eli K. Rueness, Nils Chr. Stenseth, Peter J. Fashing, Afework Bekele, R. Adriana Hernandez-Aguilar, Rose Missbach, Tanja Haus, Dietmar Zinner, Christian Roos. Population genetic structure and evolutionary history of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) in the southern Ethiopian Highlands. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2018; 18 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12862-018-1217-y More.
Further study will likely to lead to more surprises, which will help us form a reality-based picture.
See also: Girl got mostly a double set of her dad’s genes, is almost a twin. She has some problems but she is 11 years old. Yes, that was the sound of another lectern splintering in the near distance.
Almost one in five genes’ coding status is unresolved Researchers: We believe that the three reference databases currently overestimate the number of human coding genes by at least 2000, complicating and adding noise to large-scale biomedical experiments.
Do all genes affect every complex trait? Veronique Greenwood: The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way