Crossing the Red Sea: phylogeography of the hamadryas baboon, Papio hamadryas hamadryas

Authors

  • BRUCE J. WINNEY,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
    2. Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
    3. King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, PO Box 61681, Riyadh 11575, Saudi Arabia
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    • §

      Bruce J. Winney and Robert L. Hammond are joint first authors of this study.

  • ROBERT L. HAMMOND,

    1. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
    2. Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
    3. King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, PO Box 61681, Riyadh 11575, Saudi Arabia
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    • Current address: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Bâtiment de Biologie, University of Lausanne, Lausane CH-1015, Switzerland.

    • §

      Bruce J. Winney and Robert L. Hammond are joint first authors of this study.

  • WILLIAM MACASERO,

    1. King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, PO Box 61681, Riyadh 11575, Saudi Arabia
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  • BENITO FLORES,

    1. King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, PO Box 61681, Riyadh 11575, Saudi Arabia
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  • AHMED BOUG,

    1. National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, PO Box 61681, Riyadh 11575, Saudi Arabia
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  • VERONIQUE BIQUAND,

    1. Université de Rennes I, Station Biologique, F-35380 Paimpont, France
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  • SYLVAIN BIQUAND,

    1. Abilis Ecologie, 40 rue de la montagne Ste Genevieve, Paris 75005, France
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  • MICHAEL W. BRUFORD

    1. Cardiff School of Biosciences, Main Building, Museum Avenue, PO Box 915, Cardiff CF10 3TL, UK
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and current address: Bruce Winney, Cancer and Immunogenetics Group, First Floor Laboratory, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HE, UK. Fax: 01865 791712; E-mail: bruce.winney@clinpharm.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

The hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas hamadryas) is found both in East Africa and western Arabia and is the only free-ranging nonhuman primate in Arabia. It has been hypothesized that hamadryas baboons colonized Arabia in the recent past and were possibly even transported there by humans. We investigated the phylogeography of hamadryas baboons by sequencing a portion of the control region of mtDNA in 107 baboons from four Saudi Arabian populations and combing these data with published data from Eritrean (African) P. h. hamadryas. Analysis grouped sequences into three distinct clades, with clade 1 found only in Arabia, clade 3 found only in Africa, but clade 2 found in both Arabian and African P. h. hamadryas and also in the olive baboon, P. h. anubis. Patterns of variation within Arabia are neither compatible with the recent colonization of Arabia, implying that baboons were not transported there by humans, nor with a northerly route of colonization of Arabia. We propose that hamadryas baboons reached Arabia via land bridges that have formed periodically during glacial maxima at the straits of Bab el Mandab in the southern Red Sea. We suggest that the genetic differentiation of Arabian from African populations suggests that Arabian populations have a higher conservation status than recognized previously.

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