Perspectives provided by leopard and other cat genomes: how diet determined the evolutionary history of carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores

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BMB Reports, ISSN: 1976-6696, Vol: 50, Issue: 1, Page: 3-4

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Kim, Soonok; Cho, Yun Sung; Bhak, Jong; O'Brien, Stephen J.; Yeo, Joo-Hong
Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - BMB Reports; NSUWorks; KOREAN SOCIETY BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Dietary adaptation; Evolution; Felidae; Leopard; Wild species genome; Animal Sciences; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Genetics and Genomics
article description
Recent advances in genome sequencing technologies haveenabled humans to generate and investigate the genomes ofwild species. This includes the big cat family, such as tigers,lions, and leopards. Adding the first high quality leopardgenome, we have performed an in-depth comparative analysisto identify the genomic signatures in the evolution of felid tobecome the top predators on land. Our study focused on howthe carnivore genomes, as compared to the omnivore orherbivore genomes, shared evolutionary adaptations in genesassociated with nutrient metabolism, muscle strength, agility,and other traits responsible for hunting and meat digestion.We found genetic evidence that genomes represent whatanimals eat through modifying genes. Highly conservedgenetically relevant regions were discovered in genomes at thefamily level. Also, the Felidae family genomes exhibited lowlevels of genetic diversity associated with decreased populationsizes, presumably because of their strict diet, suggesting theirvulnerability and critical conservation status. Our findings canbe used for human health enhancement, since we share thesame genes as cats with some variation. This is an examplehow wildlife genomes can be a critical resource for humanevolution, providing key genetic marker information fordisease treatment.