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J Hered. 2017 Sep 1;108(6):671-677. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esx047.

Conservation Genetics of the Cheetah: Lessons Learned and New Opportunities.

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Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia; Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, Ft Lauderdale, FL; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Front Royal, VA; Laboratory of Neurogenetics, NIAAA, Rockville, MD; and Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia.


The dwindling wildlife species of our planet have become a cause célèbre for conservation groups, governments, and concerned citizens throughout the world. The application of powerful new genetic technologies to surviving populations of threatened mammals has revolutionized our ability to recognize hidden perils that afflict them. We have learned new lessons of survival, adaptation, and evolution from viewing the natural history of genomes in hundreds of detailed studies. A single case history of one species, the African cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is here reviewed to reveal a long-term story of conservation challenges and action informed by genetic discoveries and insights. A synthesis of 3 decades of data, interpretation, and controversy, capped by whole genome sequence analysis of cheetahs, provides a compelling tale of conservation relevance and action to protect this species and other threatened wildlife.


Acinonyx jubatus; Cheetah genome, Indian Cheetah; population bottleneck

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