Elephant Seals: Genetic Variation and Near Extinction

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 May 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4139, pp. 908-909
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4139.908


Blood samples from northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), representing five breeding colonies in California and Mexico, were surveyed electrophoretically for protein variation reflecting underlying genetic differences. No polymorphisms were found among 21 proteins encoded by 24 loci. This uniform homozygosity may be a consequence of fixation of alleles brought about by the decimation of this species by sealers in the last century.

Stay Connected to Science

Editor's Blog