The South Korean scientists from the Personal Genomics Institute in Suwon, on 17 September 2013 unveiled that they carried out first ever DNA analysis of the tiger as well as four other great felines. The DNA analysis was carried out in the project for helping the critically-endangered cats for their survival.
The team of scientists led by Yun Sung Cho at the Personal Genomics Institute, Genome Research Foundation in Suwon, South Korea, in their research, sequenced the genome of a Siberian tiger. The genome of this genome of this tiger was then compared with the genome of white Bengal tiger, the snow leopard, the African lion and white African lion. The comparison revealed that the genes highlighted shared characteristics among all these close, yet distinct species of cats. All these kinds of tigers included common genes which hinted towards extreme muscle strength as well as the ability to metabolise hypercarnivorous diet.
There were variants which accounted for certain differences such as fur colour. In case of the gene revealed about the characteristic of snow leopard’s ability to adapt to high, icy habitats.
The genomes therefore indicated about the diverse and crucial data source which can be used for conservation of these tigers. Out of the overall nine subspecies of tiger, the scientists revealed that four of them were already extinct in previous century. These four extinct species included Javan, Balinese, South China and Caspian tigers.
It is estimated that at present the number of wild tigers range from just 3050 to 3950. The conservationalists believe that in the absence of conservation measures, all the tigers will become extinct from the wild soon.