Applying molecular genetic tools to tiger conservation


Correspondence: Shu-Jin Luo, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Rd, Beijing 100871, China.


The utility of molecular genetic approaches in conservation of endangered taxa is now commonly recognized. Over the past decade, conservation genetic analyses based on mitochondrial DNA sequencing and microsatellite genotyping have provided powerful tools to resolve taxonomy uncertainty of tiger subspecies, to define conservation units, to reconstruct phylogeography and demographic history, to examine the genetic ancestry of extinct subspecies, to assess population genetic status non-invasively, and to verify genetic background of captive tigers worldwide. The genetic status of tiger subspecies and populations and implications for developing strategies for the survival of this charismatic species both in situ and ex situ are discussed.