Critically endangered - the snow leopard. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Sini Merikallio
Researchers have succeeded in sequencing the genome of several species of endangered big cats.
Cat lovers might be forgiven for thinking that their beloved pet cats are far removed from their larger and more fearsome cousins, but amazingly domestic moggies have been found to share up to 95.6% of the same DNA as tigers, a species from which they diverged 10.8 million years ago.
The discovery was made by scientists who have been sequencing the genomes of several types of big cat in an effort to aid conservation efforts. Several species of endangered cats were examined as part of the project including the snow leopard of which there are only thought to be around 3,000 left in the wild.
Researchers hope that by sequencing their genomes it will help them to better understand and measure biodiversity and to be able to better decide with animals should be paired in breeding programs. With so few of the animals left, research of this kind could prove critical in preventing the species from disappearing forever within the next few years.
Source: TIME | Comments (28)
Cat, Tiger, Lion