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Male-Driven Differences in Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Population Genetic Structure Across Three Habitats in Cameroon and Nigeria

  • Matthew W. Mitchell
  • Sabrina Locatelli
  • Ekwoge E. Abwe
  • Lora Ghobrial
  • Mary Katherine Gonder
Article

Abstract

Complex ecological pressures affect the social dynamics of many primate species, but it is unclear how they affect primate speciation. Molecular tools are often used to answer questions about the evolutionary histories and social systems of primates. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), in particular, is frequently used to answer many of these questions, but because it is passed from mothers to offspring it reveals only the histories of females. In many species, including chimpanzees, females generally disperse from their natal groups while males are philopatric, and thus differences in dispersal patterns likely leave different signatures in the genome. We previously analyzed samples from 187 unrelated male and female chimpanzees in Nigeria and Cameroon using 21 autosomal microsatellites and mtDNA sequences. Here, we examine the contributions of males and females in shaping the genetic history of these chimpanzees by genotyping a subset of 56 males at 12 Y-chromosome microsatellites. We found that Y-chromosome population structure differed from the results of analysis of mtDNA haplotypes. The results also revealed that males in rainforest habitats (Guinean and Congolian rainforests) are more closely related to one another than those inhabiting the savanna-woodland mosaic ecotone in central Cameroon. In contrast, the pattern of female relatedness did not differ across habitats. We hypothesize that these differences in population structure and patterns of relatedness among males in different habitat types may be due to differences in the community dynamics of chimpanzees in the ecotone vs. rainforests, and that these factors contribute to making Cameroon an engine of diversification for chimpanzees. Broadly, these results demonstrate the importance of habitat variation in shaping social systems, population genetics, and primate speciation.

Keywords

Cameroon Chimpanzee Genetics Microsatellites Population structure Y-chromosome 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria for permission to conduct this research. We thank the Zoological Society of San Diego, the Ebo Forest Research Project, and the Wildlife Conservation Society for their support in Cameroon. We thank Beatrice Hahn, Martine Peeters, Bethan Morgan, Aaron Nicholas, and Amy Pokempner for contributing samples. We also thank Adam Freedman, Jeremy Kirchman, George Robinson, Paul Sesink Clee, Caro-Beth Stewart, Henri Thomassen, Anthony Di Fiore, the editor, and the anonymous reviewers for assistance with analyses and helpful comments on drafts of the manuscript. National Science Foundation awards 0755823 and 1243524 (to M. K. Gonder) and funding from the University at Albany – State University of New York (to M. K. Gonder) supported this work. M. W. Mitchell and M. K. Gonder designed the research. M. W. Mitchell, S. Locatelli, L. Ghobrial, and M. K. Gonder performed research. M. W. Mitchell analyzed the data. M. W. Mitchell, S. Locatelli, E. E. Abwe, and M. K. Gonder wrote the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew W. Mitchell
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sabrina Locatelli
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ekwoge E. Abwe
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Lora Ghobrial
    • 2
    • 7
  • Mary Katherine Gonder
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity at Albany – State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Unité Mixte Internationale 233, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, INSERM U1175, and University of MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  5. 5.Ebo Forest Research Project, BP 3055YaoundéCameroon
  6. 6.Zoological Society of San DiegoInstitue for Conservation ResearchEscondidoUSA
  7. 7.Forensic Biology SectionNorth Carolina State Crime LaboratoryRaleighUSA

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