India Today



Ateam of researcher­s from Stanford, NCBS et al sequenced 65 genomes from four subspecies—Amur, Bengal, Sumatran and Malayan—over three years. The four were found to be geneticall­y distinct. Indian tigers as a whole had the highest genetic variation, but some of them show signs of possible inbreeding. Even Bengal tigers, which comprise about 70 per cent of the world’s wild tigers and exhibit relatively high genomic diversity compared to other subspecies, showed signs of inbreeding in some population­s. Tigers from the Northeast were the most different from other population­s in India. Extreme fragmentat­ion and high human population density in India has resulted in isolated population­s, where individual­s may be more likely to mate with relatives. In contrast, despite low Amur tiger population densities in the Russian Far East, individual movement is not hindered by significan­t barriers and there is less inbreeding. Despite this, and other adaptation­s, Amur and Sumatran tigers have lower genetic diversity, so if population­s continue to decline, genetic rescue may be needed.

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