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Browsing by Subject "mammalian tooth development"

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  • Ahovuo, Aura Elina (2020)
    Isolating mechanisms of the species usually prevent interspecific hybridisation. At times, these mechanisms might break down temporarily and lead to the birth of interspecific hybrids. Introgression is a term related to a set of consecutive backcrossings in which the hybrids reproduce with one of their parental species. It is characterised as a long process associated with alleles which are transferred from a population of one of the parental species to a population of the other parental species. Introgression is adaptive if phenotypic variation is increased in the recipient population by the genetic variants of the donor population and maintained by natural selection. The Baltic grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the Baltic ringed seal (Pusa hispida botnica) have interbred when they were kept in captivity in a shared pond. According to the findings from a previous study, interbreeding could have happened in the wild as well. The purpose of this study is to examine the proportion of introgression between the Baltic grey and ringed seals. The genomewide introgression is analysed using Patterson’s D-statistic, F4-ratio test and specific introgression intervals defined from the seals of analysed data. Introgression is assumed to have contributed intraspecific morphological variation detected in phocine teeth. Therefore, it is also examined whether the genes involved in tooth development express signs of introgression in the grey and ringed seals and whether the introgression intervals include potential variants. The results of Patterson D-statistic and F4-ratio test show both hybridisation and introgression between the Baltic grey and ringed seals. Based on the introgression intervals, a longer period has passed since the species interbred. Similar proportions of introgressed DNA as those defined from the genomes of the ringed seals have been detected in brown bears, bovines and modern humans. Furthermore, several genes affecting the shape of a developing mammalian tooth show signs of introgression in the seals. The individuals also carry variants in their introgression intervals. Introgression and the variants can account for the intraspecific morphological variation in the phocine dentitions. Potential introgressed genome intervals in the regulatory sequences of the tooth genes might also affect phocine tooth shape, which should be examined more in the future.