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Researchers: Inbreeding causes mutations of endangered gorillas

Låglandsgorillorna in the Congo-Kinshasa is one of two subspecies within the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei).

It is classified as critically endangered on the international as the red list since the inventories showed that the population decreased from 17.000 to only 3.800 individuals since the turn of the millennium.

the Researchers behind the new study, published in Current Biology, has compared dna from living animals with dna from up to 100 years old museiexemplar.

much of the subspecies genetic variation has been lost. Inbreeding has increased and mutations that are likely to be harmful has become more the last 4-5 generations. This explains probably why some gorillas nowadays are born with fused fingers and toes.

the Other mutations were found in genes that affect the fertility of males.

the Researchers ' conclusion is that the eastern låglandsgorillan has lost a large part of their ability to meet future changes in the environment.

– That such harmful mutations increased in the number of stresses really need to stop the ongoing populationsminskningen, " says Love Dalén, an evolutionary biologist at the state museum in Stockholm, and one of the leaders behind the study.

also the condition of the famous mountain gorilla in east central Africa.

Oddly enough, these, unlike låglandsgorillorna, not to have undergone any major genetic changes in the last 100 years – despite the fact that the overall population is only a little over 1.000 individuals.

the Reason is possibly that the mountain gorilla naturally been rare for a very long time, several thousand years. Harmful mutations can be purged by natural selection as a result of the low number.

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