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Mitochondrial Genome of a 22,000-year-old Giant Panda from Southern China Reveals a New Panda Lineage
author: Min-Shan Ko A, Zhang Y, Yang MA, Hu Y, Cao P, Feng X, Zhang L, Wei F, Fu Q

Present-day giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are estimated to have diverged from their closest relatives, all other bears, ~20 million years ago, based on molecular data [1]. With fewer than 2,500 individuals living today [2], it is unclear how well genetic data from extant and historical giant pandas [3] reflect the past [3]. To date, there has been no complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequenced from an ancient giant panda. Here, we use ancient DNA capture techniques [4] to sequence the complete mitochondrialgenome of a ~22,000-year-old giant panda specimen (radiocarbon date of 21,910-21,495 cal BP with ± 2σ at 95.4% probability; Beta-473743) from the Cizhutuo Cave, in Leye County, Guangxi Province, China (Figure 1A). Its date and location in Guangxi, where no wild giant pandas live today, as well as the difficulty of DNA preservation in a hot and humid region, place it as a unique specimen to learn about ancient giant pandas from the last glacial maximum. We find that the mtDNA lineage of the Cizhutuo pandacoalesced with present-day pandas ~183 thousand years ago (kya, 95% HPD, 227-144 kya), earlier than the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of mtDNA lineages shared by present-day pandas (~72 kya, 95% HPD, 94-55 kya, Supplemental Information). Furthermore, the Cizhutuo panda possessed 18 non-synonymous mutations across six mitochondrial genes. Our results show that the Cizhutuo mtDNA lineage underwent a distinct history from that of present-day populations

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PubYear: 2018
Unit code: 152453
Publication name: Current Biology
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