LynxGenomics, the Iberian Lynx species genome project, reached a new milestone with the identification of about 20.000 genes within the feline DNA, a similar number as other mammal species. 

This leads to the final phase: the interpretation phase, where the Spanish scientist makes comparisons with another genomes, investigates the species history and draws the first conclusions about lynx situation.

 

Alfonso Valencia is the director of the Structural Computational Biology Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), wich is involved in the Lynxgenomics project. They are focussed on the transposons' study, an specific area in the genome characterized by rapid changes over a short period of time, just like cancer...

A team of the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) shrinks the size of the genes in the human genome to only 19,000  and unveils that over 99% of human protein coding genes have an origin that predates primates by over 50 million years.

The Lynxgenomics\u0027 group of scientist at Sevilla\u0027s meeting.

The Lynxgenomics project has completed the assembly of the first draft of the lynx genome, after two and a half years of hard work using cutting edge technologies. 

This means achieving a major milestone for the project, although this is not the end of the path, because the structure obtained is now blank, like a mute city map.

The Texel is the breed used to build the sheep genome.

It has taken eight years to complete the domestic sheep genome. The research unveils unique characteristics of this animals which made them different from the others, like their fat metabolism process that is linked to their skin and wool coat. 

Sense of smell is critical for survival in many mammals. Researchers examined the olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs, and five times more than in humans....

An African elephant having a soil shower.

The Iberian Lynx can be in a so called 'extinction vortex', an spiral that inevitably would lead to its disappearance if extraordinary measures are not taken to avoid their genetic impoverishment and deterioration.

A downward spiral, wich is like a vortex.

A study carried out by researchers at the Spanish National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Estación Biológica de Doñana, both adscribed to CSIC, establishes that inbred lynxes tend to have higer levels of abnormal sperm.

Three puppies during 2011\u0027s breeding season. Photo: Lynexitu programme.
The Amur tiger is so called Siberian tiger.

Big cats experienced speedy genome changes that turned them into carnivores, although, surprisingly, they still share more than 95% of their genetic information with domestic cats. Scientists mapped the genome of a 9 year old male Amur tiger and compared it with the white Bengal tiger, the African lion, the white African lion and the snow leopard.

The Elephant shark is a living fossil.

The elephant shark is a 'living fossil' fish who earned his name from the bottom of his face, that resembles the end of an elephant's trunk.  An international team of scientist analyzed it's genome and their foundlings shed light into bone creation carrying potential implications for human disease treatment and also opens new paths on immune research.

The Florida panther lives in the South east of United States.

The Florida panther is still alive, they went through huge problems, were on the brink of extinction and now are back thanks to a genetic management program. This light brown coloured panther used to roamed the southeaster US but it's massive hunting since 1832 and the destruction of their habitat isolated them in The Big Cypress Swamp by the middle of the 20'. 

Almoradux died when he was six year old as a result of the Renal Chronic Desease. He was the only male in the captive breeding programme born in Doñana. 

Scientist involved in Lynxgenomics project have used samples of different organs of his body to study lynx  genetically and identify genes that are expressed.

The genome is an essential part of a living being. Like any meat or vegetable, preservation is a big issue, because when a cell die, its DNA is lost. What can it be done? 

Scientist have found a way to store it and,t... they discovered that some kind of cells can live with an special guest, a piece of genetic information from another living being. These cells are  bacteria.

Candiles is the lynx chosen by cyentist to unveil the genome of this species. But he is not the only one who is under the microscope. Lynxgenomics' team is working in parallel with samples taken from another ten iberian lynx and one more from an european lynx. 

Una camada de linces de 2012.

Lynxgenomics team opted for the application of new sequencing technologies to assemble the Iberian lynx genome.The DNA information must be cut in manageable pieces and put them in the right place.

The president of the Bank of Santander, Emilio Botín, has stressed that the Project Zero, where Lynxgenomics' belonged to, demonstrates that a public-private partnership can provide useful results.

  'Collaboration between universities and research centers, business and governments is possible, and can be extraordinarily productive,' said 

José Antonio Godoy (the first on the left) with the leaders of CSIC, Banco Santander and General Foundation CSIC and the coordinators of other projects.
Snowflake in its latest days.

Born in the wild in Equatorial Guinea, Snowflake called the Barcelona Zoo home for almost 40 years before dying of skin cancer in 2003, during which time he fathered 22 offspring with three different females.

The decline in Iberian lynx numbers has had a dramatic effect on the genetic variation of the species. The analysis of contemporary nuclear microsatellite marker variation revealed levels of diversity that are extremely low compared to other species of cats.

Aliaga\u0027s puppies.

Evolutionary biologists at the University of Toronto (USA) have found that individuals with low-quality genes may produce offspring with even more inferior chromosomes, possibly leading to the extinction of certain species over generations. They had used the fruitfly as a study model.

  • The evolution of their genetic profile had made changes to their sense of flavour. International research has sequenced the pig genome. Results have revealed after ten years of joint efforts.
  • 150 scientist from 12 countries had been involved. Pigs share 84% genes with humans.

The Iberian lynx population in Spain tripled in the last nine years and has reached from 94 to 312 members.

This increase is mainly due to the conservation projects, which have succeeded in increasing significantly the number of specimens in every area, all placed in Andalusia: Andújar, Guarrizas,  Guadalmellato (in Jaén) and Doñana (Huelva and Seville).

Hocico, a little lynx.

The tomato genome has tripled several times in a row about 60 million years ago, which would have been able to survive ice ages, as recorded an international research that has  sequenced its genome. 

The newly deciphered genome of the hairless, underground-dwelling, long-lived and cancer-resistant naked mole rat could help researchers unravel the creature's secrets, and may help improve human health ej, with better treatments for human disease.

Unlike common chimpanzees, bonobos seem to use sex to resolve disputes. An 18-year-old female named Ulindi has now become the first bonobo to have its genome sequenced.

A pair of bonobos.

The Iberian lynx is subjected to an intense monitoring and active management program that includes an ex-situ conservation program, translocations of individuals and a reintroduction program, whose first releases were performed in late 2009. The scientific monitoring of these actions entails a complete medical or post-mortem analysis.

The Iberian lynx is healthy than other carnivores due to his diet, based on rabbit. They have lower organochlorine compounds (PCB) levels than other carnivores who eat reptiles, as its shown in a EBD's research.

An international team of researchers shows that polar bears evolved as early as 600,000 years ago. 

Una oso polar junto a su cría.
What for?

The Iberian lynx has become a dramatic case of a species at the verge of extinction. And is also one of the most studied species, which makes it a unique study model for conservation genomics, to investigate the effects of declining genetic diversity and its implication on reproduction, health and even behaviour.

The Estación Biológica de Doñana is heading a national research to build the first lynx genome, involving six research centers and more than thirty scientist. It'll be an essential tool to find the impacts of the loss of biodiversity.

Lynxexitu
 
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