The Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) is endemic to the extremely inhospitable high-altitude environment of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, a region that has a low partial pressure of oxygen and high ultraviolet radiation. Here we generate a draft genome of this artiodactyl and use it to detect the potential genetic bases of highland adaptation. Compared with other plain-dwelling mammals, the genome of the Tibetan antelope shows signals of adaptive evolution and gene-family expansion in genes associated with energy metabolism and oxygen transmission. Both the highland American pika, and the Tibetan antelope have signals of positive selection for genes involved in DNA repair and the production of ATPase. Genes associated with hypoxia seem to have experienced convergent evolution. Thus, our study suggests that common genetic mechanisms might have been utilized to enable high-altitude adaptation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)