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Despite lack of genetic diversity narwhals still thrive

Despite lack of genetic diversity narwhals still thrive

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Compared to other Arctic marine mammals, narwhals exhibit shockingly low levels of genetic diversity, as realized by Danish researchers who sequenced the narwhal’s genome. Although this usually means a species is struggling, the researchers report that the narwhal is actually thriving with a population of about 170,000 individuals strong. Their findings are published in iScience. “There’s this notion that in order to survive and be resilient to changes, you need to have high genetic diversity, but then you have this species that for the past million years has had low genetic diversity and it’s still around – and is actually relatively abundant,” said Eline Lorenzen, an associate professor and curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. She continued, “This shows us that just looking at the number of individuals isn’t indicative of the genomic diversity levels of a species, but also looking at the genomic diversity levels isn’t indicative of the number of individuals. Equating…
Source: Despite lack of genetic diversity narwhals still thrive

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