Recent clinal variation and genetic connectivity in chimpanzees across Africa

Quick update to disseminate a paper I have been working on with Jack Lester (Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthopology) amongst others in Leipzig, now published in Nature Communications Biology here. Drawing on many years of fecal sampling from across the entire range of chimpanzees (>5300 samples from 21 countries), and building the largest microsatellite dataset for the species to date, we show that chimpanzees demonstrate a pattern of isolation by distance, and that the proposed riverine and arid barriers separating subspecies show signals of recent genetic permeability. We also find strong signals of differentiation at the local scale, linked to anthropogenic pressure, highlighting the need to safeguard critical genetic diversity to mitigate the effects of future habitat fragmentation and population isolation.

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