New Publication: Diversity of selected toll-like receptor genes in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and African leopards (Panthera pardus pardus)

Leopards (Panthera pardus) and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) face several threats including habitat destruction, human-wildlife conflict, and infectious disease. Dr Desiré Lee Dalton (Lecturer, Teesside University) and collaborators investigated the diversity of genes involved in the initial detection and defence against infectious diseases in modern Southern African cheetahs and leopards as well as historic cheetah samples and samples of different cheetah subspecies. We found that diversity was lower in cheetah than in leopards. In addition, historic cheetahs from all subspecies exhibited greater genetic diversity than modern Southern African cheetahs. Thus, indicating that cheetah have further lost diversity recently as a result of a population declines within the last 150 years. These results have identified that Southern African cheetahs may not be able survive future infectious diseases.


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