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Tiger Genomic Assessments

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As one of the most recognizable endangered species, tigers have been the focus of several of our projects in order to flesh out our understanding of their evolutionary history and genomic variation.

  • Genomic assessment of wild tigers
    • We re-sequenced 65 individual tiger genomes, focusing on tigers from India, and uncovered a link between possible inbreeding or founding events due to a reduction of protected areas and longer runs of homozygosity. Our findings also revealed differences in local adaptation between subspecies, calling for more investigation before initiating genetic rescue.
  • Reference genome assembly
    • We assembled genomes from 3 members of the genus, the tiger (Panthera tigris), the snow leopard (Panthera uncia), and the African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus), at chromosome or near-chromosome level.
  • Genomic assessment of US captive tiger population
    • As captive tigers vastly outnumber the wild population, we focused on this group to create the first large-scale genetic study of the private (non-zoo) captive tiger population in the United States. Our results revealed a lower level of inbreeding than anticipated and a comparable level of genetic diversity to wild counterparts.
  • SNP panel 
    • We genotyped 100 SNPs from degraded tiger DNA extracted from faeces, hair and cooked samples to identify individuals, discern close relatives and detect population differentiation. With this, we presented a scalable method for other conservation scenarios that may otherwise be limited by the poor quality of DNA samples available.

Fig 1 from the SNP panel published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution