Limited introgression supports division of giraffe into four species

  • All giraffe (Giraffa) were previously assigned to a single species (G. camelopardalis) and nine subspecies. However, multi‐locus analyses of all subspecies have shown that there are four genetically distinct clades and suggest four giraffe species. This conclusion might not be fully accepted due to limited data and lack of explicit gene flow analyses. Here, we present an extended study based on 21 independent nuclear loci from 137 individuals. Explicit gene flow analyses identify less than one migrant per generation, including between the closely related northern and reticulated giraffe. Thus, gene flow analyses and population genetics of the extended dataset confirm four genetically distinct giraffe clades and support four independent giraffe species. The new findings support a revision of the IUCN classification of giraffe taxonomy. Three of the four species are threatened with extinction, and mostly occurring in politically unstable regions, and as such, require the highest conservation support possible.
Author:Sven WinterORCiDGND, Julian FennessyORCiD, Axel JankeORCiD
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Ecology and evolution
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Place of publication:[s. l.]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/09/05
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/02/26
Tag:conservation; gene flow; giraffe; hybridization; speciation
Page Number:10
First Page:10156
Last Page:10165
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0