||The Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is one of the most threatened wild big cats within its range of distribution, however, the question of its systematic status is a matter of debate. Is it a member of genus Panthera, or is it in its own genus (Uncia)? The analysis of genetic difference at the DNA level may provide useful data to clarify the issue. In the present study, ten hexanucleotide-specific restriction endonucleases were used to evaluate the patterns of mitochondrial DNA variation between the Snow leopard and leopard (P. pardus). The molecular size of mtDNA from the two species was about 16.5 kb. Ten enzymes surveyed 32-34 restriction sites, which corresponded to 192 apprx 204 base pairs, or 1.16% apprx 1.24% of the total mtDNA molecule. A total of 45 restriction sites were mapped; of these sites, twenty-four, which correspond to 53.3% of the total sites, were variable. The sequence divergence between them was 0.075 33, which was undoubtedly in the species-level distinction but did not reach the genus level. Therefore, the Snow leopard should be placed in the genus Panthera rather than in its own ganus. It also seems reasonable to recognize Uncia as a valid subgenus. This conclusion not only support but also supplement the viewpoint of Simpson who treated Uncia as a subgenus within Panthera.