50,000 years of genetic uniformity in the critically endangered Iberian lynx

Authors

  • RICARDO RODRÍGUEZ,

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
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    • Ricardo Rodríguez and Oscar Ramírez contributed equally to this work.

  • OSCAR RAMÍREZ,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF). Dr. Aiguader, 88. 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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    • Ricardo Rodríguez and Oscar Ramírez contributed equally to this work.

  • CRISTINA E. VALDIOSERA,

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
    2. Center for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Oster Voldgade 5-7 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark
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  • NURIA GARCÍA,

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
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  • FERNANDO ALDA,

    1. Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
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  • JOAN MADURELL-MALAPEIRA,

    1. Institut Català de Paleontologia. Edifici ICP, Campus de la UAB. 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
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  • JOSEP MARMI,

    1. Institut Català de Paleontologia. Edifici ICP, Campus de la UAB. 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
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  • IGNACIO DOADRIO,

    1. Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
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  • ESKE WILLERSLEV,

    1. Center for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Oster Voldgade 5-7 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark
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  • ANDERS GÖTHERSTRÖM,

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
    2. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • JUAN LUIS ARSUAGA,

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
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  • MARK G. THOMAS,

    1. Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Gower Street London, WC1E 6BT, UK
    2. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • CARLES LALUEZA-FOX,

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF). Dr. Aiguader, 88. 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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  • LOVE DALÉN

    1. Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid–Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos. Avda. Monforte de Lemos 5, Pabellón 14. 28029 Madrid, Spain
    2. Department of Molecular Systematics, Swedish Museum of Natural history, Svante Arrhenius Väg 9-11, PO Box 50007, SE-10405 Stockholm, Sweden.
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Ricardo Rodríguez, Fax: + 34 91 822 28 55; E-mail: ricardo_eyre@yahoo.es

Abstract

Low genetic diversity in the endangered Iberian lynx, including lack of mitochondrial control region variation, is thought to result from historical or Pleistocene/Holocene population bottlenecks, and to indicate poor long-term viability. We find no variability in control region sequences from 19 Iberian lynx remains from across the Iberian Peninsula and spanning the last 50 000 years. This is best explained by continuously small female effective population size through time. We conclude that low genetic variability in the Iberian lynx is not in itself a threat to long-term viability, and so should not preclude conservation efforts.

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