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South China Tiger Genome, Analyses Point to Conservation Clues

For a paper appearing in BMC Biology, a team at the Guangzhou Zoo and Guangzhou Wildlife Research Center, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and elsewhere present findings from a population genomic analysis focused on the South China tiger subspecies Panthera tigris amoyensis. Using long-read single-molecule real-time sequencing, short-read genome re-sequencing data for 26 tigers, optical mapping, and Hi-C chromatin interaction profiling, the researchers put together a 2.47 gigabase genome containing more than 20,900 predicted protein-coding genes, 568 microRNAs, more than 6,300 transfer RNAs, and hundreds more ribosomal or small nuclear RNAs, along with repetitive elements that made up almost 35 percent of the genome. When they analyzed the genome alongside sequences from 40 other animals spanning half a dozen tiger subspecies, the authors tracked down two distinct South China tiger lineages  which were marked by rare variants that originated in other tiger subspecies  along with signs of recent inbreeding or a recent founder event. "We recommend that individuals of the two genomic lineages could be merged to breed for minimizing a further loss of the unique and critical genetic variations [in the South China tiger genome]," they write, arguing that the latest results "shed light into a potentially bright future of these critically endangered cats."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.