Xin Ma, Joanna L. Kelley, Kirsten Eilertson, Shaila Musharoff, Jeremiah D. Degenhardt, Andre L. Martins, Tomas Vinar, Carolin Kosiol, Adam Siepel, Ryan N. Gutenkunst, Carlos D. Bustamante. Population Genomic Analysis Reveals a Rich Speciation and Demographic History of Orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii). PLoS One, 8(10):e77175. 2013.
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To gain insights into evolutionary forces that have shaped the history of Bornean and Sumatran populations of orang-utans, we compare patterns of variation across more than 11 million single nucleotide polymorphisms found by previous mitochondrial and autosomal genome sequencing of 10 wild-caught orang-utans. Our analysis of the mitochondrial data yields a far more ancient split time between the two populations ( approximately 3.4 million years ago) than estimates based on autosomal data (0.4 million years ago), suggesting a complex speciation process with moderate levels of primarily male migration. We find that the distribution of selection coefficients consistent with the observed frequency spectrum of autosomal non-synonymous polymorphisms in orang-utans is similar to the distribution in humans. Our analysis indicates that 35% of genes have evolved under detectable negative selection. Overall, our findings suggest that purifying natural selection, genetic drift, and a complex demographic history are the dominant drivers of genome evolution for the two orang-utan populations.