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Genome Sequencing of Asiatic Lion done by CSIR scientists

Published on May 15, 2019
For the first time, the entire genome of the Asiatic Lion, an endangered species, has been sequenced by scientists from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.
Genome Sequencing of Asiatic Lion done by CSIR scientists

Details:

  • As the population of the endangered Asiatic lion is very low, only 523 animals are present in the Gir forests.
  • The genome sequencing would enable scientists to develop specific markers to study population genetics and get newer insights into its population status and subsequent management.

Results of the study:

  • Comparative analysis with other fields and mammalian genomes unraveled the evolutionary history of the Asiatic Lion and its position among other felids.
  • The study noted that the evaluation of genetic diversity placed the Asiatic Lion in the lowest bracket of genomic diversity index highlighting the gravity of its conservation status.
  • The genome is estimated to be 2.3 Gb (Gigabase) long and is found to have 20,543 protein-coding genes.

Significance of this exercise:

  • The genome sequencing of Asiatic Lions would enable scientists to better understand their evolution.
  • Until now only partial genomic information of the African Lion is available.
  • Therefore comparative genomics between both African Lions and Asiatic Lions can only be undertaken once a complete genome of the African Lion is sequenced.
  • Therefore, once a complete genome of African Cheetah, Royal Bengal Tiger and Jaguar will be available, the comparative studies of all these big cats would be possible.
  • This signifies that the final objective of scientists is to understand these species at the DNA level and study that if there are any specific problems with regard to the adaptability of Asiatic Lion to environment or behaviour.

Question:

Q. For the first time, the entire genome of which endangered species found only in India has been sequenced by scientists from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad?
a. Royal Bengal Tiger
b. Asiatic Lion
c. Chinkara
d. One-Horned Rhino
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