Global Felid Genetics Program

Panthera is partnering with the American Museum of Natural History’s (AMNH) Center for Conservation Genetics (CCG) to create the Global Felid Genetics Program.

Equipped with a state of the art genetics laboratory at the AMNH in New York City, this initiative will add another layer of expert knowledge and a suite of new tools to the range-wide conservation strategies developed for our cat programs.

The main objectives of the Global Felid Genetics Program are to:

  • Provide standardized methods for the collection of biomaterials from cats;
  • Provide assistance in the experimental design of genetic research projects;
  • Recommend the application of genetic techniques to questions of concern in the management and conservation of cats;
  • Assist in the interpretation of genetic results; and;
  • Provide recommendations, based on genetic findings, for the long-term management and conservation of wild cats.

 

Technological advances

In recent years, the application of molecular techniques to the management of endangered species has become an invaluable tool to conservation biologists. The acquisition of animal tissue samples is not always an option in the field, especially when dealing with highly endangered or easily-stressed animals. Technological advances in the past few years using non-invasive techniques have made it possible to reliably extract DNA from sources such as feces and hair. DNA from fecal and hair samples is relatively easy to retrieve, store, and transport compared to other kinds of biological samples.

Because of our emphasis on both site and range-wide conservation, Panthera is interested in a variety of genetic questions that include species and individual identifications, the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation on genetic heterogeneity, the genetic connectivity between distant cat populations, and the genetic validity of currently accepted sub-species.

 

Funding for genetic analysis

Through our grant programs, and in partnership with the AMNH, Panthera provides funding for genetic analysis to selected projects. All genetic analysis funded through our grant programs must be processed through the AMNH.

For more information and to apply, please visit www.panthera.org/grants-and-prizes.

 

How can you participate?

Consultation on biomaterial sampling and genetic analyses and assistance with genetic investigations of cats can be found in our Felid Genetics Manual. If you are a researcher who would like to participate in our felid genetics program and provide samples to our global analyses, please read our Felid Genetics Program FAQ and contact genetics@panthera.org.