Friday, 17 May 2013

Indian tigers face threat 'due to lack of genetic diversity'

India's tigers are facing extinction owing to a collapse in the variety of their mating partners, say Cardiff University researchers.

They found that 93% of DNA variants found in tigers shot the period of the British Raj were not present in tigers today

Prof Mike Bruford said the genetic diversity needed for the species to survive had been "lost dramatically".

There are fewer than 2,000 tigers left worldwide, 60% in India.

The Cardiff university team collaborated with the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India on the research.

They had unprecedented access to the Natural History Museum of London's tiger collection which allowed them to identify the DNA variants in the tigers killed in the British Raj period from 1858 to 1947 but which have disappeared today.

Mechanised trophy hunting reduced the animal's numbers from 40,000 in a mere 100 years.

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