News from CRG
An international consortium led by Brazilian university PUCRS and including scientists from seven countries reported in the journal Science Advances the complete sequence of the jaguar genome, along with in-depth analyses comparing it to all other living big cats (lion, tiger, leopard and snow leopard).
The study resolved the evolutionary relationships among these species and the timing of their diversification (starting about 4.6 million years ago), and revealed that their genealogical tree varies considerably across different parts of their genomes. This result allowed the scientists to identify evidence of historical hybridization between different species of big cats. This process may have contributed to their long-term survival, since the genome data indicated that all of these species have undergone population declines in the last 300 thousand years, leading to loss of genetic diversity over time.
Toni Gabaldón, ICREA research professor and group leader of the Comparative Genomics laboratory at the CRG, in collaboration with CONICET researcher Patricia Saragüeta at the Institute of Experimental Biology (IBYME) in Buenos Aires (Argentina), participated in the comparative analysis of different species of big cats. They reconstructed phylogenetic trees for these species unraveling the history of the jaguar genes.
Figueiró HV et al. "Genome-wide signatures of complex introgression and adaptive evolution in the big cats" Science Advances. 19 July 2017. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700299