Monday, February 11, 2008

Okavango lions in genetic study

Photo courtesy of Lani Asato, Aquarap 2000

A recently published study, Genomic organization, sequence divergence, and recombination of feline immunodeficiency virus from lions in the wild in the online open access journal BMC Genomics shows that parts of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) isolated from wild lions have undergone substantial genetic recombination, says research published. The National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research in the USA and colleagues from the USA and Botswana including Christiaan and Hanlie Winterbach, have sequenced the genomes of two lion FIV subtypes in full: FIVPle subtype B, isolated from lions in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and FIVPle subtype E, isolated from lions in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The sequencing of the two full FIV genomes of different lion subtypes shows the importance of whole-genome analysis in understanding complex genetic events. These findings will be relevant to big cat conservation and developing more effective animal models for HIV.

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