Genomic basis for skin phenotype and cold adaptation in the extinct Steller's sea cow

Diana Le Duc, Akhil Velluva, Molly Cassatt-Johnstone, Remi-Andre Olsen, Sina Baleka, Chen-Ching Lin, Johannes R. Lemke, John R. Southon, Alexander Burdin, Ming-Shan Wang, Sonja Grunewald, Wilfried Rosendahl, Ulrich Joger, Sereina Rutschmann, Thomas B. Hildebrandt, Guido Fritsch, James A. Estes, Janet Kelso, Love Dalén, Michael Hofreiter, Beth Shapiro & Torsten Schöneberg
Steller’s sea cow, an extinct sirenian and one of the largest Quaternary mammals, was described by Georg Steller in 1741 and eradicated by humans within 27 years. Here, we complement Steller’s descriptions with paleogenomic data from 12 individuals. We identified convergent evolution between Steller’s sea cow and cetaceans but not extant sirenians, suggesting a role of several genes in adaptation to cold environments. Among these are inactivations of lipoxygenase genes, which in humans and mouse...
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