Journal Article


Jun Wang
Eske Willerslev
Rasmus Nielsen
Guojie Zhang
Christian Sonne
Ludovic Orlando
Rune Dietz
Love Dalén
Erik W Born
James O. McInerney
and 19 others



adaptation physiological fatty acids arctic regions ursidae gene flow apolipoproteins b genetics population physiology animals biological evolution chemistry genetics adipose tissue genome metabolism classification

Population genomics reveal recent speciation and rapid evolutionary adaptation in polar bears. (2013)

Abstract Polar bears are uniquely adapted to life in the High Arctic and have undergone drastic physiological changes in response to Arctic climates and a hyper-lipid diet of primarily marine mammal prey. We analyzed 89 complete genomes of polar bear and brown bear using population genomic modeling and show that the species diverged only 479-343 thousand years BP. We find that genes on the polar bear lineage have been under stronger positive selection than in brown bears; nine of the top 16 genes under strong positive selection are associated with cardiomyopathy and vascular disease, implying important reorganization of the cardiovascular system. One of the genes showing the strongest evidence of selection, APOB, encodes the primary lipoprotein component of low-density lipoprotein (LDL); functional mutations in APOB may explain how polar bears are able to cope with life-long elevated LDL levels that are associated with high risk of heart disease in humans.
Collections Ireland -> Dublin City University -> PubMed

Full list of authors on original publication

Jun Wang, Eske Willerslev, Rasmus Nielsen, Guojie Zhang, Christian Sonne, Ludovic Orlando, Rune Dietz, Love Dalén, Erik W Born, James O. McInerney and 19 others

Experts in our system

Jun Wang
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 37
Ludovic Orlando
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 6
James O. McInerney
Maynooth University
Total Publications: 62