Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Genomic evidence of geographically widespread effect of gene flow from polar bears into brown bears.

  • Author(s): Cahill, James A
  • Stirling, Ian
  • Kistler, Logan
  • Salamzade, Rauf
  • Ersmark, Erik
  • Fulton, Tara L
  • Stiller, Mathias
  • Green, Richard E
  • Shapiro, Beth
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409089/
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

Polar bears are an arctic, marine adapted species that is closely related to brown bears. Genome analyses have shown that polar bears are distinct and genetically homogeneous in comparison to brown bears. However, these analyses have also revealed a remarkable episode of polar bear gene flow into the population of brown bears that colonized the Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands (ABC islands) of Alaska. Here, we present an analysis of data from a large panel of polar bear and brown bear genomes that includes brown bears from the ABC islands, the Alaskan mainland and Europe. Our results provide clear evidence that gene flow between the two species had a geographically wide impact, with polar bear DNA found within the genomes of brown bears living both on the ABC islands and in the Alaskan mainland. Intriguingly, while brown bear genomes contain up to 8.8% polar bear ancestry, polar bear genomes appear to be devoid of brown bear ancestry, suggesting the presence of a barrier to gene flow in that direction.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item