Tomàs Marquès - Bonet

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) & Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG)

Chimpanzees inhabit the savannah and forest of tropical Africa. The climate and geographical area where they live have made difficult the preservation of ancient populations fossil record, in contrast to the many hominid sites preserved to this day – mainly in caves and temperate climates. Given the absence of chimpanzee fossils, the genetic information of today’s populations becomes crucial to describe their evolutionary history, their genetic diversity and finally to contribute to their preservation.

Our team together with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, has built the most extensive catalog of genomic diversity in wild chimpanzee populations to date. Genetic information has been retrieved non-invasively using new technologies, from hundreds of geolocated chimpanzee fecal samples. For the first time, methods applied to analyze ancient DNA in human populations have been used to retrieve genetic information from fecal samples in the study of great apes. The genomic tool they have developed will have direct applications for the conservation of chimpanzees, such as detecting poaching hotspots and identifying illegal trafficking routes to protect this endangered species.

  • Reference:
    – Clàudia Fontseré Alemany, Martin Kuhlwilm, Carlos Morcillo Suárez, Marina Alvarez-Estape, Jack de Lester, Paolo Gratton, Joshua M Schmidt, Paula Diéguez, Thierry Aebischer, Paula Álvarez-Varona, Anthony Agbor, Samuel Angedakin, Alfred K Assumang, Emmanuel A Ayimisin, Emma Bailey, Donatienne Barubiyo, Mattia Bessone, Andrea Carretero-Alonso, Rebecca Chancellor, Heather Cohen, Emmanuel Danquah, Tobias Deschner, Andrew Dunn, Jef Dupain, Villard E Egbe, Olga Feliu, Annemarie Goedmakers, Anne-Céline Granjon, Josephine Head, Daniela Hedwig, Veerle Hermans, Adriana Hernández Aguilar, Inaoyom Imong, Sorrel Jones, Jessica Junker, Parag Kadam, Mike Kaiser, Mbangi Kambere, Magloire V Kambale, Ammie K Kalan, Ivonne Kienast, Deo Kujirakwinja, Kevin Langergraber, Juan Lapuente, Bradley Larson, Anne Laudisoit, Kevin Lee, Manuel Llana, Miquel Llorente Espino, Sergio Marrocoli, David Morgan, Felix Mulindahabi, Mizuki Murai, Emily Neil, Sonia Nicholl, Stuart Nixon, Emma Normand, Chris Orbell, Lucy J Ormsby, Liliana Pacheco, Alex Piel, Laura Riera, Martha M Robbins, Aaron Rundus, Crickette Sanz, Lilah Sciaky, Volker Sommer, Fiona A Stewart, Nikki Tagg, Luc Roscelin Tédonzong, Els Ton, Joost van Schijndel, Virginie 1/2 Vergnes, Erin G Wessling, Jacob Willie, Roman M Wittig, Yisa G Yuh, Kyle Yurkiw, Klaus Zuberbuehler, Jochen Hecht, Linda Vigilant, Christophe Boesch, Aida M Andrés, David A Hughes, Hjalmar S Kühl, Esther Lizano, Mimi Arandjelovic, Tomas Marques-Bonet 2022, ‘Population dynamics and genetic connectivity in recent chimpanzee history’, Cell Genomics, vol. 2, núm. 6, p. 100133