High-altitude adaptation and incipient speciation in geladas : [Preprint]

Survival at high altitude requires adapting to extreme conditions such as environmental hypoxia. To understand high-altitude adaptations in a primate, we assembled the genome of the gelada (Theropithecus gelada), an endemic Ethiopian monkey, and complemented it with population resequencing, hematological, and morphometric data. Unexpectedly, we identified a novel karyotype that may contribute to reproductive isolation between gelada populations. We also identified genomic elements including protein-coding sequences and gene families that exhibit accelerated changes in geladas and may contribute to high-altitude adaptation. Our findings lend insight into mechanisms of speciation and adaptation while providing promising avenues for functional hypoxia research.

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