The genetic differences between the hatchback seals are very small. Photo: Alessio Marrucci, Wikipedia
Reading Hedgehog seals are like a big family: The genetic differences of the animals are extremely low, although the seals inhabit large parts of the Arctic seas. Canadian scientists have found this out after analyzing the DNA sequences of several hundred folding hats. "When you examine a DNA section of a folding cap, you can not tell where that sample came from, " explains study leader David Coltman. The results of the study are therefore significant, as little is known about the way of life of hinged caps, so the researchers. Folded hats are solitary seals, which owe their name to a cap-like growth on the nose of the male. To throw the females in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Davis Strait in northern Canada, off the coast of the Labrador Peninsula or off the coast of East Greenland to loose groups together. The males guard the females during the rearing of the young and then mate with the females.

Coltman and his colleagues collected DNA sequences from several hundred seals for more than twenty years to study the genetic differences between the supposedly diverse reproductive communities at the four breeding sites. However, the analyzes showed that the animals intersect worldwide and they form a single genetic, so-called panmiktische population. Thus, the genetic material is thoroughly mixed throughout the entire stock.

Foldable hats are hunted to this day for their meat, their trans and the blue-shimmering coat of kittens. Its population today is estimated to be around 600, 000 animals and is not considered threatened.

David Coltman (University of Alberta) et al .: Molecular Ecology, Vol. 16, p. 1639 ddp / Claudia Hilbert ad


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