Tigers and their close relatives (Panthera) are some of the world’s most endangered species. Here we report the de novo assembly of an Amur tiger whole-genome sequence as well as the genomic sequences of a white Bengal tiger, African lion, white African lion and snow leopard. Through comparative genetic analyses of these genomes, we find genetic signatures that may reflect molecular adaptations consistent with the big cats’ hypercarnivorous diet and muscle strength. We report a snow leopard-specific genetic determinant in EGLN1 (Met39>Lys39), which is likely to be associated with adaptation to high altitude. We also detect a TYR260G>A mutation likely responsible for the white lion coat colour. Tiger and cat genomes show similar repeat composition and an appreciably conserved synteny. Genomic data from the five big cats provide an invaluable resource for resolving easily identifiable phenotypes evident in very close, but distinct, species.
Cho, Yun Sung; Li Hu; Haolong Hou; Hang Lee; Jiaohui Xu; Soowhan Kwon; Sukhun Oh; Hak-Min Kim; Sungwoong Jho; Sangsoo Kim; Young-Ah Shin; Byung Chul Kim; Hyunmin Kim; Chang-uk Kim; Shu-Jin Luo; Warren E. Johnson; Klaus-Peter Koepfli; A. Schmidt-Kunzel; Jason A. Turner; L. Marker; Cindy K. Harper; Susan M. Miller; Wilhelm Jacobs; Laura D. Bertola; Tae Hyung Kim; Sunghoon Lee; Qian Zhou; Hyun-Ju Jung; Xiao Xu; Priyvrat Gadhvi; Pengwei Xu; Yingqi Xiong; Yadan Luo; Shengkai Pan; Caiyun Gou; Xiuhui Chu; Jilin Zhang; Sanyang Liu; Jing He; Ying Chen; Linfeng Yang; Yulan Yang; Jiaju He; Sha Liu; Junyi Wang; Chul Hong Kim; Hwanjong Kwak; Jong-Soo Kim; Seungwoo Hwang; Junsu Ko; Chang-Bae Kim; Sangtae Kim; Damdin Bayarlkhagva; Woon Kee Paek; Seong-Jin Kim; Stephen J. O'Brien; Jun Wang; and Jong Bhak. 2013. "The Tiger Genome and Comparative Analysis with Lion and Snow Leopard Genomes." Nature Communications 4, (2433): 1-7. http://nsuworks.nova.edu/cnso_bio_facarticles/744