The Siberian tiger is the largest of the six tiger species remaining. The species was almost poached to near extinction resulting to a record low 20 left in Russia. Conservation has helped the species revive their numbers to over 900, but underlying genetic variables exist that could potentially be the downfall of the Siberian tiger. There are roughly 500 individual Siberian tigers in the wild only 25-35 of those individuals are genetically unique.
Even though the tigers have a rich history of having poor genetic variation. This may notbe the case in the near future. Interestingly, captive tigers have shown genetic variations that do not appear in the wild, but the risks of breeding captive tigers with wild tigers may out weigh the benefits. Where a risk of disease transmission may prove to be lethal to the species as a whole.
Researchers report 5 genes contribute to human facial shape. Siblings usually have more similar faces than unrelated people, implying that genes play a major role in the appearance of the human face. The International Visible Trait Genetics Consortium, used head magnetic resonance images together with portrait photographs to map facial landmarks, from which facial distances were estimated. The researchers then applied a genome-wide association approach to finding DNA variants involved in facial shapes in almost 10,000 individuals.
Three of the five genes were previously discovered to express facial structure, but two more have recently been identified. Placing a “phantom” face based on genetic code may appear in the near future. Forensics will benefit the most from this discovery. Some characteristics such as eye color and hair color can already be determined through genetic codes.
A new study using a genetic analysis of the first humans leaving Africa 60,000 years ago suggest humans “colonized” Arabia before spreading through out the world. The migration out of Africa stimulates major debate amongst the scientific community, but a genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA shows a rich ancestry in Arabia comparing similarities in DNA to the genetically oldest Africans.
The use of mtDNA has become an excellent source of tracking ancestry due to maternal inheritance. Mitochondrial DNA usually has no change from parent to offspring. Although mtDNA still recombines, it all takes place with in the same structure. Tracking ancestry amongst females through mtDNA can shine light on mapping the steps to human conquest.
Posted in Gentics
Tagged Ancestry, mtDNA
The University of Colorado School of Medicine ran a study correlating eye color of American with non-Hispanic European ancestry. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease in which pigment loss results in irregular white patches of skin and hair. Among the 3000 patients with vitiligo 27% had blue/grey eyes, 43% had tan/brown eyes, and 30% had hazel/green eyes. Theses percentages differ from the normal distribution of eye color for Americans of non-Hispanic European ancestry. 52% have blue/grey eyes, 27% have tan/brown eyes, and 22% have hazel/green eyes. People with vitiligo are at higher risk for various other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Vitiligo patients’ close relatives also are at higher risk for these same diseases, even if they don’t have vitiligo. Richard Spritz, MD, is director of the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the CU School of Medicine, the coordinating center for the research.
Spritz said this means there must be some genes that push towards these autoimmune diseases in general, while other genes and environmental stimuli determine which autoimmune disease occurs and when.
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