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      Genome-wide set of SNPs reveals evidence for two glacial refugia and admixture from postglacial recolonization in an alpine ungulate.

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          Abstract

          Past glaciation events have played a major role in shaping the genetic diversity and distribution of wild sheep in North America. The advancement of glaciers can isolate populations in ice-free refugia, where they can survive until the recession of ice sheets. The major Beringian refugium is thought to have held thinhorn sheep (Ovis dalli) populations during times of glacial advance. While isolation in the major refugium can account for much of the genetic and morphological diversity seen in extant thinhorn sheep populations, mounting evidence suggests the persistence of populations in smaller minor refugia. We investigated the refugial origins of thinhorn sheep using ~10 000 SNPs obtained via a cross-species application of the domestic sheep ovine HD BeadChip to genotype 52 thinhorn sheep and five bighorn sheep (O. canadensis) samples. Phylogenetic inference revealed a distinct lineage of thinhorn sheep inhabiting British Columbia, which is consistent with the survival of a group of thinhorn sheep in a minor refugium separate from the Beringian refugium. Isolation in separate glacial refugia probably mediated the evolution of the two thinhorn sheep subspecies, the white Dall's sheep (O. d. dalli), which persisted in Beringia, and the dark Stone's sheep (O. d. stonei), which utilized the minor refugium. We also found the first genetic evidence for admixture between sheep from different glacial refugia in south-central Yukon as a consequence of post glacial expansion and recolonization. These results show that glaciation events can have a major role in the evolution of species inhabiting previously glaciated habitats and the need to look beyond established refugia when examining the evolutionary history of such species.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Mol. Ecol.
          Molecular ecology
          Wiley
          1365-294X
          0962-1083
          Aug 2016
          : 25
          : 15
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
          [2 ] Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Bag 5000 - 3726 Alfred Ave, Smithers, British Columbia, Canada.
          [3 ] Yukon Department of Environment, PO Box 2703, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, Y1A2C6.
          Article
          10.1111/mec.13701
          27272944

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