TitleConservation priorities for endangered Indian tigers through a genomic lens.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsNatesh M, Atla G, Nigam P, Jhala YV, Zachariah A, Borthakur U, Ramakrishnan U
JournalSci Rep
Date Published2017 Aug 29

Tigers have lost 93% of their historical range worldwide. India plays a vital role in the conservation of tigers since nearly 60% of all wild tigers are currently found here. However, as protected areas are small (<300 km(2) on average), with only a few individuals in each, many of them may not be independently viable. It is thus important to identify and conserve genetically connected populations, as well as to maintain connectivity within them. We collected samples from wild tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) across India and used genome-wide SNPs to infer genetic connectivity. We genotyped 10,184 SNPs from 38 individuals across 17 protected areas and identified three genetically distinct clusters (corresponding to northwest, southern and central India). The northwest cluster was isolated with low variation and high relatedness. The geographically large central cluster included tigers from central, northeastern and northern India, and had the highest variation. Most genetic diversity (62%) was shared among clusters, while unique variation was highest in the central cluster (8.5%) and lowest in the northwestern one (2%). We did not detect signatures of differential selection or local adaptation. We highlight that the northwest population requires conservation attention to ensure persistence of these tigers.

Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID28851952
PubMed Central IDPMC5575265