Big news on the cheetah front... CCF, in partnership with St. Petersburg State University, Russia and Bejing Genome Institute-Shenzhen in China has published a detailed analysis of the cheetah genome! The paper was published yesterday in Genome Biology.
“Sequencing the cheetah genome illuminates our understanding of this species’ evolutionary past and aids us in efforts to sustain and increase cheetah populations in their present and former range. By understanding the history of the cheetah’s migration, its population bottlenecks and lack of genetic diversity, scientists and conservationists can work together to develop informed strategies to protect the species.”
For the study, the genomes of six cheetahs were sequenced, including that of the lovable Chewbaaka (RIP). Results of the study uncovered information about the species' population bottleneck which resulted in the near identical genomes of present day cheetahs. Inbreeding, some of which occurred as long as 100,000 years ago, resulted in physiological and reproductive impairment in the species that is still evident today. They were also able to look at the migration of the cheetah from it's origin in North America (that's right people, cheetahs used to roam the Great Plains) to their present range throughout Africa and some in Iran.
Me with Chewbaaka, who is now part of the Genome Legacy!