Identifying the true number of specimens of the extinct blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus)

Jan 2021

Elisabeth Hempel, Faysal Bibi, J. Tyler Faith, James S. Brink, Daniela C. Kalthoff, Pepijn Kamminga, Johanna L. A. Paijmans, Michael V. Westbury, Michael Hofreiter & Frank E. Zachos

In an effort to better understand the mechanisms leading to the extinction of the only large African mammal in modern times, scientists sampled existing museum specimens. These were subject to genomic and mitochondrial sequencing. After using DNA extraction methods designed for ancient specimens, the Pippin Prep was used to exclude DNA fragments (<165 bp) from specimens that yielded very short fragments. This resulted in several-fold more mappable endogenous regions. The authors report that only four of the sixteen specimens were in fact blue antelope and highlight how genetics can be used to identify rare museum species.

Author Affiliations:
Evolutionary Adaptive Genomics, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam Germany
Museum Für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Berlin Germany
Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, Salt Lake City UT
Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, Salt Lake City UT
Florisbad Quaternary Research Station and Department, National Museum, Republic of South Africa
Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Republic of South Africa
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Nature Scientific Reports

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80142-2

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