Genomes of big cats mapped in bid to protect endangered species

Washington, Sept. 18 (ANI): Scientists have mapped the genomes of the big cats, including tiger, lion and snow leopard, in efforts to protect endangered species.

According to the study, the tiger shares 96 percent of its genes with the house cat.

The team led by Yun Sung Cho at the Personal Genomics Institute, Genome Research Foundation in Suwon, South Korea, sequenced the Siberian tiger's genome, the BBC reported.

They then sequenced the DNA of (African) lion, snow leopard, white (Bengal) tiger and white (African) lion, which enabled them to compare how the genes matched up in different members of the cat family.

The genetic signatures showed how big cats got their superior muscle strength, ability to digest large amounts of meat and a keen sense of smell.

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

The study has been published in Nature Communications. (ANI)

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