In the scientific journal Genome Biology published an article by Russian researchers, who managed the world’s first assembled genome of the African Cheetah. The researchers expect that their work will help to save the endangered species.
photo: Gennady Cherkasov
Scientists representing St. Petersburg state University and several other scientific organizations, including those invited to Russia leading world expert on cat genomics Stephen O’brien, previously deciphered the genome of the domestic cat, lion, tiger and snow leopard, reports sbras.info.
The African leopard has attracted the attention of geneticists, including the fact that it has a relatively weak immune system and low fertility — females of this species rarely is born viable offspring. The human genome allowed us to understand the causes of these features.
Specialists have studied seven samples of the genome of the animal, three of whom came from Tanzania and four from Namibia. As a result we found out that cheetahs are almost totally devoid of genetic diversity. This, in particular, due to the fact that a piece of skin of one individual survives quite well when transferring it to another Cheetah. The reason for the low fertility of these cats, in all probability, is the set of mutations fixed in one of the genes responsible for the deaths of sperm.
In all probability, the discovered features are related to the fact that the population of cheetahs twice passed through a “bottleneck” — as scientists call a situation when some time is on the verge of extinction, but then its population is recovering. According to scientists, with the cheetahs for the first time this occurred about 100 thousand years ago during the migration of animals from America to Africa through Asia, and the second time — about 12 thousand years ago, a period of mass extinction (that’s when, for example, disappeared mammoths and saber-toothed tigers).
Passing through the bottleneck, the view is so small that it leads to inbreeding and, as a consequence, the loss of genetic diversity. According to scientists, living cat is more “monotonous” gene was observed only in the Indian lions, the number of which to date, does not exceed a few hundred individuals.
To save the African Cheetah form, scientists now need to pick up animal mating partners, which will, as far as possible, be different from them from the point of view of genes.
By the way, recently in the seaside national Park, scientists have discovered the Amur leopard is a survivor.
The President of Botswana during his visit to the military base decided to play with the Cheetah. The Cheetah – with the President. Here’s how it happens: the Cheetah attacks the person who threw it in dirty cage. Published on the portal youtube.com Stacey Cochran