Distinct genes discovered in Leopards at Arabian Peninsula breeding centers

Lifestyle Friday 24/May/2024 17:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Distinct genes discovered in Leopards at Arabian Peninsula breeding centers

Muscat: A recent scientific study conducted by researchers from the Sultanate of Oman and the United Kingdom revealed that Arabian leopard found in breeding centers in the Arabian Peninsula contain distinct genes that have not been discovered in wild tigers.

 The study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Evolutionary Applications, concluded that introducing these genes through genetic rescue could contribute to restoring genetic diversity in wild populations that suffer from inbreeding and a decline in genetic diversity.

 In this context, Dr. Hadi bin Muslim Al-Hakamani - one of the researchers in the study - told the Oman News Agency: Genetic rescue is a procedure used to save endangered species by introducing new genes to the species in the wild in order to increase genetic diversity, as genetic rescue It is an effective solution to save a species that faces a great threat of extinction.

 He added that the Arabian leopard is a rare subspecies of tigers, and its numbers have decreased greatly due to direct killing and loss of its natural habitats, and it is considered critically threatened with extinction, indicating that the small genetic diversity increases the risk of its extinction.

 He stressed that by using genetic rescue techniques, new genes could be introduced from other tigers, such as those found in breeding centers, to increase the genetic diversity of tigers in the wild, leading to enhancing the health of the breed and reducing the chances of its extinction.

 Dr. Hadi Al-Hakmani pointed out that genetic rescue could be an effective tool to save the Arabian leopard in the Arabian Peninsula, but it must be carried out within a comprehensive strategy to protect this species and its natural habitats.

 The study used various samples of Arabian leopard from the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and some of these samples date back to the sixties and seventies of the last century. The study, which was published in the scientific journal specialized in genetics and biodiversity, provided an opportunity to evaluate the genetic diversity of the Arabian tiger in Mountains of Dhofar Governorate over the past 50 years.

 It is noteworthy that the distribution range of the Arabian leopard at the present time has become limited to small groups separated from each other in the south of the Sultanate of Oman (Dhofar Governorate), and the mountains of southern and eastern Yemen, and a limited number in the south of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is considered a rare breed of tiger, and is classified as endangered at the critical level - according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature classification.

 The Sultanate of Oman seeks to protect the Arabian leopard from extinction and preserve the sustainability of its natural ecological areas with the aim of achieving environmental balance and biodiversity in various components of the environment, including the project to study the Arabian leopard and protect it from extinction, and the establishment of natural reserves that include its range, such as the Jabal Samhan Natural Reserve and the Khor Kharfut Natural Reserve in Jabal al-Qamar, in addition to implementing a project to compensate for cases of livestock (cattle) predation.