New Article to the Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article added to our Bibliography:
Title:  Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) Genetics: The Knowledge Gaps, Needs, and Implications for Conservation
Author: Weckworth, B.

Abstract:  Conservation geneticists apply genetic theory and techniques to preserve endangered species as dynamic entities, capable of coping with environmental change and thus minimizing their risk of extinction. Snow leopards are an umbrella species of High Asia, and a keystone for maintaining biodiversity within this fragile ecosystem. A clear understanding of patterns of snow leopard genetic diversity is critical for guiding conservation initiatives that will ensure their long-term persistence. Yet, a comprehensive analysis of snow leopard genetic variation is lacking. The number of published snow leopard genetic studies is far fewer than for other imperiled big cats. Here, I review the limited genetic work to date on snow leopards and the significant knowledge gaps to be filled. An emphasis must be placed on describing and understanding population genetic dynamics within and among meta-populations to provide information about the interactions between landscapes and the micro-evolutionary processes of gene flow and genetic drift. These results can be used to evaluate the levels and dynamics of genetic and demographic connectivity. A lack of connectivity, particularly in the low density, small populations that typify snow leopards, can lead to multiple demographic and genetic consequences, including inbreeding depression, loss of adaptive potential, and heightened susceptibility to demographic and environmental stochasticity. New efforts in conservation research on snow leopards should focus on this line of inquiry, and the opportunities and challenges for that are outlined and discussed to encourage the required, and considerable, transboundary partnerships and collaborations needed to be successful.

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