America bottleneck cheetah dating genetic
America bottleneck cheetah dating genetic - bdms dating sites
In addition to the challenges posed by low genetic diversity, the cheetah also faces pressures from an increasingly fragmented habitat, and competition for food from both humans and other large cats. "Dating the Genetic Bottleneck of the African Cheetah." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 90.8 (1993): 3172-176.
A total of 18 cheetah genes showed damaging mutations and one gene in particular, AKAP4, showed a large number of mutations, which could harm sperm development and may explain why cheetah have a large proportion of defective sperm, and hence their low reproductive success.
Natural selection acts on the genetic variation present in a population to remove those variants that fail to produce offspring in a particular situation and spread those variants that are particularly good at producing offspring.
A population with no genetic variation (in which every individual is genetically identical) cannot evolve in response to environmental or situational changes.
A population with low genetic variation is something of a sitting duck vulnerable to all sorts of environmental changes that a more variable population could persist through.
And unfortunately, those are exactly the circumstances faced by cheetahs today.
Conservation biologists are interested in cheetah cheating because it impacts the cheetah population's level of genetic variation.
Loosely, genetic variation is a measure of the genetic differences within a population.
The cheetah is unusual among felids in exhibiting near genetic uniformity at a variety of loci previously screened to measure population genetic diversity.
It has been hypothesized that a demographic crash or population bottleneck in the recent history of the species is causal to the observed monomorphic profiles for nuclear coding loci.
If, for example, a genetically uniform population were exposed to a new pathogen and did not carry the gene versions necessary to fend off the disease, the population could face complete extinction.
On the other hand, a population with high levels of genetic variation is much more likely to include at least a few individuals carrying the gene versions that provide protection from the pathogen and, hence, to evolve in response to the new situation instead of going extinct.
Nevertheless, conservation biologists may have reason to hope that this genetic variation will not drain away as quickly as was thought now that researchers from the Zoological Society of London have laid bare female cheetahs' cheating hearts.