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Genome-wide demographic analyses of balaenid whales revealed complex history of gene flow associated with past climate oscillation
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  • Bai-Wei Lo,
  • Francisca Martinez-Real,
  • Andreas Magg,
  • John Wise,
  • Stefan Mundlos,
  • Paolo Franchini
Bai-Wei Lo
Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Francisca Martinez-Real
Andalusian Center of Developmental Biology
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Andreas Magg
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John Wise
University of Louisville
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Stefan Mundlos
Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics
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Paolo Franchini
University of Tuscia
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The balaenid whale, comprising three species of right whales and the bowhead whale, represents an ancient and highly endangered lineage of marine mammals. To unravel the evolutionary history of balaenid whales with respect to gene flow, a comprehensive analysis based on whole-genome data was conducted for all species within this group. Employing population genomic methodologies, we revealed the polytomic nature of extant right whales, identified passage of historical trans-equatorial migration, and provided estimates to the age of the group. Furthermore, we investigated the impact of glacial cycles on the connectivity of bowhead whale populations. By employing multiple complementary approaches to detect gene flow, we identified and characterized gene flow events from bowhead whales to North Atlantic right whales, offering detailed insights into the process. Lastly, we assessed the phenotypic consequences of interspecies gene flow. The outcomes of our study shed light on the intricate evolutionary history of modern balaenid whales, which have been profoundly shaped by ancient climate events.
05 Feb 2024Submitted to Molecular Ecology
08 Feb 2024Assigned to Editor
08 Feb 2024Submission Checks Completed
08 Feb 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Feb 2024Reviewer(s) Assigned