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DNA Provides Clue to Why Woolly Mammoth Died out


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DNA clues to why woolly mammoth died out By Helen Briggs,

BBC News, March 2, 2017



The last, lonely woolly mammoths faced a 'genomic meltdown'

By Michael Price, Science News, March 2, 2017



The Woolly Mammoth's Last Stand New York Times



The paper is:


Rogers, R. L., and M. Slatkin, 2017, Excess of genomic defects

in a woolly mammoth on Wrangel island. PLOS Genetics

Published: March 2, 2017, open access.





Paul H.

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Interesting article. I wonder if this has anything to do with inbreeding among a dying population.



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This is probably caused by isolation of a very few individuals on the island.  This led to rampant inbreeding, leading to the expression of deleterious recessive phenotypes.  This MAY have led to the extinction on the island, but not to the species as a whole.  The purpose of the study was to study what can happen genetically to a small population.  Reading the news blurbs, the implication is that the species became genetically impoverished, leading to extinction.  The paper itself does not make such implications.


Brent Ashcraft

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