Home > Interesting link > Panda’s are more diverse then Caucasian humans

Panda’s are more diverse then Caucasian humans

The survival of species is often linked to both population size and genetic diversity. With the latter we mean, that the more variation is present in a population, the more cards that species can bring to the table for selection. The graph above is taken from the recent publication of the Tasmanian devil‘s (Sarcophilus harrisii) genome in PNAS. As the name suggests, the Tasmanian devil can only be found on the island discovered by Abel Tasman. In the last several years, the number of Tasmanian devils has been in sharp decline, due to the a transmittable virus that causes facial cancer and ultimately death. In an attempt to divert the Tasmanian devil from it’s cousin’s faith, the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger, the genetic diversity of various Tasmanian devils was assessed. Rather then just relying on a rather expensive nuclear genome sequencing approach, the researchers decided to look at mitochondrial DNA. And that is what the figure above shows, the average number of mitochondrial SNPs between individuals of the same species. The bar colors also add information, namely, red = endangered species, blue = just fine (for now), and black = extinct. As for the mammoth and Tasmanian tiger mitochondia, they used museum samples. A similar approach was used for the Tasmanian devil’s mitochondria. When we compare the European human to the critically endangered panda bear, it appears that the vegetarian bear has a more genetically diverse mitochondrial genome then your average corporate businessman/CEO.

Link to the original paper.


Categories: Interesting link

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