Alu insertion polymorphisms as evidence for population structure in baboons

The Baboon Genome Analysis Consortium

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Male dispersal from the natal group at or near maturity is a feature of most baboon (Papio) species. It potentially has profound effects upon population structure and evolutionary processes, but dispersal, especially for unusually long distances, is not readily documented by direct field observation. In this pilot study, we investigate the possibility of retrieving baboon population structure in yellow (Papio cynocephalus) and kinda (Papio kindae) baboons from the distribution of variation in a genome-wide set of 494 Alu insertion polymorphisms, made available via the recently completed Baboon Genome Analysis Consortium. Alu insertion variation in a mixed population derived from yellow and olive (Papio anubis) baboons identified each individual's proportion of heritage from either parental species. In an unmixed yellow baboon population, our analysis showed greater similarity between neighboring than between more distantly situated groups, suggesting structuring of the population by male dispersal distance. Finally (and very provisionally), an unexpectedly sharp difference in Alu insertion frequencies between members of neighboring social groups of kinda baboons suggests that intergroup migration may be more rare than predicted in this little known species.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2418-2427
    Number of pages10
    JournalGenome biology and evolution
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


    • Alu
    • Population genetics
    • Population structure
    • Retrotransposon

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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