Extinction: Limited genetic diversity may not doom Iberian lynx after all
|August 22, 2011||Posted by News under extinction, News|
So reports Martin Enserink at ScienceShot(21 August 2011). Considered the most endangered of the 36 big cats (300 known), the lynx was assumed doomed due to inbreeding. But when ancient DNA was studied, researchers discovered a surprising fact:
… the Iberian lynx has had very low genetic diversity, and presumably small populations, for at least 50,000 years. For reasons that are unclear, it always got by, the researchers conclude in their paper in Molecular Ecology.
The lynx’s main problem, apparently, is the decline of rabbits, its principal food source, due to disease.
This find is thought to spur wild conservation efforts. More on the lynx.