Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental factors help limit gene flow between different giraffe species

Date:
October 23, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Giraffe species may only breed with each other based on the timing of rainfall in their local environments.

Giraffe species may only breed with each other based on the timing of rainfall in their local environments, according to new research published October 23 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Henri Thomassen and colleagues at UCLA.

Three types of giraffe species in East Africa are genetically distinct and rarely intermingle, even though they live in close proximity to each other. Given that these different giraffe species are capable of long-distance travel, and are known to breed together in zoos, it remains a mystery how they maintain such genetic diversity in the wild and why they choose to stay only within their species range.

To answer these questions, the authors here used a suite of powerful analytical methods and climate data to analyze the specific environments of genotyped giraffes. They tested four hypotheses that might explain the maintenance of these three distinct giraffe species: isolation-by-distance, physical barriers to dispersal, general habitat differences resulting in habitat segregation, or regional differences in the seasonal timing of rainfall.

They found that regional differences in the timing of precipitation, and the resulting increase in local vegetation and plants ("greening"), could best explain the source of genetic differences. Each species seems to be tied to their local seasonal cycle of greening, which is markedly different among species, suggesting that annual climate cycles may help maintain genetic and phenotypic divergence in giraffes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Henri A. Thomassen, Adam H. Freedman, David M. Brown, Wolfgang Buermann, David K. Jacobs. Regional Differences in Seasonal Timing of Rainfall Discriminate between Genetically Distinct East African Giraffe Taxa. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e77191 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077191

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Environmental factors help limit gene flow between different giraffe species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183254.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, October 23). Environmental factors help limit gene flow between different giraffe species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183254.htm
Public Library of Science. "Environmental factors help limit gene flow between different giraffe species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183254.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins