S. Korean scientists decode Genome of Tigers
Scientists from the Personal Genomics Institute in Suwon, South Korea have revealed that they have done first ever DNA analysis of the tiger as well as four other big cats. The DNA analysis was carried out in the project for aiding the critically-endangered cats for their survival.
The team of scientists sequenced the genome of a Siberian tiger. They compared this genome with the genome of white Bengal tiger, the snow leopard, the African lion and white African lion. Scientists found shared characteristics among all these close, yet distinct species of cats. All these species of tigers included common genes which indicated towards extreme muscle strength as well as the ability to metabolize hyper-carnivorous diet.
There were variants also which accounted for certain differences such as fur color. The information from these genomes provides a diverse and crucial data source which can be used for conservation of these tigers.
As per scientists, of the overall nine subspecies of tiger, four were already extinct in the last century. These four extinct species included Javan, Balinese, South China and Caspian tigers. As per estimates, at present the number of wild tigers range from just 3050 to 3950.