Tuesday October 16, 2018
Home Science & Technology Genetic ‘Muta...

Genetic ‘Mutational Meltdown’ push the wooly mammoth toward extinction: Research

A genetic “mutational meltdown” helped push the wooly mammoth toward extinction

0
//
156
FILE - The woolly mammoth - in a display at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Canada - went extinct during the last ice age, which ended 4,000 years ago. (Wikipedia commons)
Republish
Reprint

USA, 4Mar, 2017: A genetic “mutational meltdown” helped push the wooly mammoth toward extinction, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, say they compared genetic material from mammoths when they were plentiful and material from when the population was in decline.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

What they found was “genome deterioration” that reflected the smaller population size. The findings are a warning to conservationists that keeping a small pool of endangered animals could result in inbreeding and genomic meltdown.

“There is a long history of theoretical work about how genomes might change in small populations. Here we got a rare chance to look at snapshots of genomes ‘before’ and ‘after’ a population decline in a single species,” said Rebekah Rogers, who led the work as a postdoctoral scholar at Berkeley and is now an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “The results we found were consistent with this theory that had been discussed for decades.”

According to researchers, woolly mammoths were once very common in North America, Siberia and Beringia, which is the land bridge that used to exist between current day Russia and the U.S. state of Alaska.

About 10,000 years ago, in the face of a warmer climate and increased hunting by humans, the populations of the beasts began to shrink. But the woolly mammoth existed until about 3,700 years ago when they finally went extinct.

Researchers say they compared genetic materials from a 45,000-year-old mammoth to one that lived 4,300 years ago. The latter was from a group of about 300 mammoths that lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.

“We found an excess of what looked like bad mutations in the mammoth from Wrangel Island,” Rogers said.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Using mathematical models, researchers say they found “multiple harmful mutations” in the sample from Wrangel Island. Some of the mutations caused the mammoths to lose olfactory receptors. This led to problems with mate choice, researchers said. Furthermore, one mutation likely caused the animal to develop an “unusual translucent satin coat.”

“With only two specimens to look at, these mathematical models were important to show that the differences between the two mammoths are too extreme to be explained by other factors,” Rogers said. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

0
cryptocurrency. google
Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?