Monday, November 28, 2011

Genetic Variability Hope for Cheetahs?

The outlook of cheetahs has not been good since scientists discovered their low genetic variability due to high inbreeding in the population. However, Iran's endangered cheetahs have been found by researchers to be a unique subspecies that split from their African ancestors over 30,000 years ago. The findings published in the journal Molecular Ecology say that ,"With our data we prove that current Iranian cheetahs represent the historical Asiatic subspecies A.j. venaticus as they share a similar genetic profile with specimen originating from northwestern Iran in 800-900 CE." This causes a need for conservation management of this critically endangered subspecies. The Iranian Department of the Environment has made this cause a national priority since there are only 60-100 individuals at breeding age left.  Hopefully this effort will be enough to save this subspecies and the genetic variation of cheetahs everywhere.


  1. It would be cool if a few of these cheetahs could be bred to increase their prevalence in the overall population (while tackling the endangered species problem).

  2. Personally, I don't think this possibility is going to be two fruitful. In relation to the overall population of cheetahs, there still isn't enough diversity, even with this added species. If anything, it will just buy them a little more time before they go extinct.