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Title: Ancient mtDNA from the extinct Indian cheetah supports unexpectedly deep divergence from African cheetahs
Authors: Rai, Niraj
Verma, Sunil Kumar
Gaur, Ajay
Iliescu, Florin Mircea
Thakur, Mukesh
Golla, Tirupathi Rao
Chandra, Kailash
Prakash, Satya
Tabasum, Wajeeda
Ara, Sreenivas
Singh, Lalji
Thangaraj, Kumarasamy
Jacobs, Guy S.
Keywords: Science::Biological sciences
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Rai, N., Verma, S. K., Gaur, A., Iliescu, F. M., Thakur, M., Golla, T. R., . . . Jacobs, G. S. (2020). Ancient mtDNA from the extinct Indian cheetah supports unexpectedly deep divergence from African cheetahs. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 4618-. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-60751-7
Journal: Scientific Reports 
Abstract: The Indian cheetah was hunted to extinction by the mid-20th century. While analysis of 139 bp of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has confirmed that the Indian cheetah was part of the Asiatic subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), the detailed relationships between cheetah populations remains unclear due to limited genetic data. We clarify these relationships by studying larger fragments of cheetah mtDNA, both from an Indian cheetah museum specimen and two African cheetah, one modern and one historic, imported into India at different times. Our results suggest that the most recent common ancestor of cheetah mtDNA is approximately twice as ancient as currently recognised. The Indian and Southeast African (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) cheetah mtDNA diverged approximately 72 kya, while the Southeast and Northeast African (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) cheetah mtDNA diverged around 139 kya. Additionally, the historic African cheetah sampled from India proved to have an A. j. jubatus haplotype, suggesting a hitherto unrecognised South African route of cheetah importation into India in the 19th century. Together, our results provide a deeper understanding of the relationships between cheetah subspecies, and have important implications for the conservation of A. j. venaticus and potential reintroduction of cheetahs into India.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-60751-7
Schools: School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences 
Research Centres: Complexity Institute 
Rights: © 2020 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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