Scientist map out big cat's genomes

Photo: BBC

KATHMANDU, Nepal-International scientists have mapped out the genomes of the snow leopard, tiger and lion in conservation efforts to protect endangered species.

The research gives an idea that how big cats evolved to become top predatory animal with big muscle strength.

A team led by Yun Sung Cho at the Personal Genomics Institute, Genome Research Foundation in Suwon, South Korea, sequenced the genome of a Siberian tiger.

The team then determined the DNA of four other big cats – the (African) lion, snow leopard, white (Bengal) tiger and white (African) lion.

This enabled them to compare how the genes coped with different members of the cat family.

The research also gives genetic clues to how the snow leopard adapted to the snowy mountain ranges and how the white lion gained its pale coat and.

One of the lead authors of the report, Jong Bhak, said the tiger genome map will be an important resource for looking at genetic diversity.

The preservation of wild tiger populations, currently estimated at less than 4,000 individuals, is now a major goal of animal conservationists.

“Our tiger reference genome can be used as the basis for comparing all the tigers in the world, so that we know the genetic diversity of tigers,” quoted the bbc as his statement.

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