- Scientists from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has for the first time sequenced the entire genome of Asiatic lion.
- Genome sequencing means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called “bases” – that make up the DNA molecule. Genome sequencing helps to understand how genes work together to direct the growth, development and maintenance of an organism. It helps to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility and resilience to diseases.
- The genome sequencing would enable scientists in (a)better understanding the evolution of Asiatic lions (b)to develop specific markers to study population genetics (the differences at the gene level within a population) and (c)get newer insights into its population status and subsequent management and (d)the genome sequencing will also help in comparative studies of Asiatic lion with the genome of royal Bengal tiger, African Cheetah and Jaguar.
- However,comparative studies between African and Asiatic lions could be undertaken once the complete genome of the African lion is sequenced as only partial genomic information of the African lion is available.
- Asiatic Lion, a pantherine cat, is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List and is exposed to severe threats in the Gir region like a) growing lion population and shrinking habitat, b) vulnerability to diseases, c) death from linear infrastructure such as road, rail and electric fences and d) man-animal conflict.
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