Evolutionary and demographic processes shaping geographic patterns of genetic diversity in a keystone species, the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis)

The past processes that have shaped geographic patterns of genetic diversity may be difficult to infer from current patterns. However, in species with sex differences in dispersal, differing phylogeographic patterns between mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear (nu) DNA may provide contrasting insights into past events. Forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) were impacted by climate and habitat change during the Pleistocene, which likely shaped phylogeographic patterns in mitochondrial (mt) DNA that have persisted due to limited female dispersal. By contrast, the nuclear (nu) DNA phylogeography of forest elephants in Central Africa has not been determined. We therefore examined the population structure of Central African forest elephants by genotyping 94 individuals from six localities at 21 microsatellite loci.

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