Genomic signatures of high-altitude adaptation and chromosomal polymorphism in geladas.

Chiou, Kenneth L ORCID:, Janiak, MC ORCID:, Schneider-Crease, India A ORCID:, Sen, Sharmi ORCID:, Ayele, Ferehiwot, Chuma, Idrissa S, Knauf, Sascha ORCID:, Lemma, Alemayehu, Signore, Anthony V ORCID:, D'Ippolito, Anthony M, Abebe, Belayneh, Haile, Abebaw Azanaw, Kebede, Fanuel, Fashing, Peter J, Nguyen, Nga, McCann, Colleen, Houck, Marlys L, Wall, Jeffrey D, Burrell, Andrew S, Bergey, Christina M ORCID:, Rogers, Jeffrey ORCID:, Phillips-Conroy, Jane E, Jolly, Clifford J, Melin, Amanda D ORCID:, Storz, Jay F ORCID:, Lu, Amy ORCID:, Beehner, Jacinta C, Bergman, Thore J and Snyder-Mackler, Noah ORCID: 2022, 'Genomic signatures of high-altitude adaptation and chromosomal polymorphism in geladas.' , Nature ecology & evolution, 6 , pp. 630-643.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 24 September 2022.

Download (329kB) | Request a copy


Primates have adapted to numerous environments and lifestyles but very few species are native to high elevations. Here we investigated high-altitude adaptations in the gelada (Theropithecus gelada), a monkey endemic to the Ethiopian Plateau. We examined genome-wide variation in conjunction with measurements of haematological and morphological traits. Our new gelada reference genome is highly intact and assembled at chromosome-length levels. Unexpectedly, we identified a chromosomal polymorphism in geladas that could potentially contribute to reproductive barriers between populations. Compared with baboons at low altitude, we found that high-altitude geladas exhibit significantly expanded chest circumferences, potentially allowing for greater lung surface area for increased oxygen diffusion. We identified gelada-specific amino acid substitutions in the alpha-chain subunit of adult haemoglobin but found that gelada haemoglobin does not exhibit markedly altered oxygenation properties compared with lowland primates. We also found that geladas at high altitude do not exhibit elevated blood haemoglobin concentrations, in contrast to the normal acclimatization response to hypoxia in lowland primates. The absence of altitude-related polycythaemia suggests that geladas are able to sustain adequate tissue-oxygen delivery despite environmental hypoxia. Finally, we identified numerous genes and genomic regions exhibiting accelerated rates of evolution, as well as gene families exhibiting expansions in the gelada lineage, potentially reflecting altitude-related selection. Our findings lend insight into putative mechanisms of high-altitude adaptation while suggesting promising avenues for functional hypoxia research. [Abstract copyright: © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.]

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Journal or Publication Title: Nature ecology & evolution
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2397-334X
Related URLs:
Funders: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 17:41
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 16:28

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year