22 October 2020

The genetic diversity of species can be explained by their social structure

Golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli) © Erwan Quéméré

A team of researchers from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) demonstrated that considering the social structure of some animal populations is crucial to understand the maintenance of their genetic diversity. The study published in the journal Heredity focuses on a species of lemur from Madagascar, the golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli), one of the most emblematic and currently endangered with extinction, and shows that social structure can maintain high levels of genetic diversity without the need for inbreeding avoidance. The team of researchers led by Lounès Chikhi proposed a new computational model that explicitly models social structure

Read more in National Geographic (in Portuguese).