The Genetic Ancestry of the Chinese Mountain Cat
The Snow Leopard Network welcomes you to our next webinar on the Chinese Mountain Cat with Dr. Shu-Jin Luo, from Peking University, China.
The Snow Leopard Network welcomes you to our next webinar on the Chinese Mountain Cat with Dr. Shu-Jin Luo, from Peking University, China. This is a special opportunity for the snow leopard community to learn about this smaller, also elusive, wild cat species. Do ‘zoom in’ to listen to our guest speakers and join the discussion.
About the Talk
Within China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, called the rooftop of the world because it is the highest plateau on the planet, dwells the Chinese Mountain Cat or Chinese Steppe Cat (Felis silvestris bieti). This unique wild cat shares its species designation with the North African Wildcat (F. s. lybica), South African Wildcat (F. s. cafra), European Wildcat (F. s. silvestris), and the Asiatic Wildcat (F. s. ornata). We conducted surveys, collected cheek swabs, blood samples, and fecal samples for genetic analysis from cats in zoos, in the field, and in the homes of families in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau area for research. Our research provided the world’s first genetic evidence of historical and contemporary introgression events between domestic cats (F. s. catus) and F. s. bieti. The results provide genetic evidence that a substantial percentage of the genomes of some Chinese domestic cats are as much as ten percent F. s. bieti. Genome-wide analyses classified the Chinese mountain cat as a wildcat conspecific F. s. bieti, which was not involved in cat domestication of China, thus supporting a single domestication origin arising from the African wildcat (F. s. lybica). A complex hybridization scenario including ancient introgression from the Asiatic wildcat (F. s. ornata) to F. s. bieti, and contemporary gene flow between F. s. bieti and sympatric domestic cats that are likely recent Plateau arrivals, raises the prospect of disrupted wildcat genetic integrity, an issue with profound conservation implications.
A domestic cat in Qinghai (left) carries in its genome some genetic admixture component from the Chinese mountain cat (right) that is endemic on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and is now considered a wildcat subspecies (Felis silvestris bieti) according to the recent study (Yu et al. 2021).
Dr. Shu-Jin Luo is a Principal Investigator at the School of Life Sciences, Peking University, China. A conservation and evolutionary geneticist with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a postdoc at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, Dr. Luo is leading an active research team working on the genetics of wild and domestic cats and is the lead author discovering the new Malayan tiger subspecies Panthera tigris jacksoni, finding the genetic causes of the white tiger, and elucidating the evolutionary histories of various endangered felids including the tiger, leopard cat, and the Chinese mountain cat. Dr. Luo is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group since 2005 and a council member for the American Genetic Association (AGA) since 2020.
Dr. Shu Jin Luo will be joined by a facilitator and key discussant exchanging ideas and approaches for safeguarding high altitude ecosystems.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2022, at 04:00 PM Beijing, Shanghai
ZOOM, to join this talk, REGISTER HERE
- If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
- Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
- Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.