Thursday, April 5, 2012


What a sad topic this is. So what does extinction have to do with my theme? A lot of people blame (rightfully so if you ask me) humans for the possible extinctions of many species alive today and for those that have already disappeared from this earth. Apparently humans are not the only reason for some species going extinct, though. I recently wrote a paper on research done by Bruford, Goossens, Hu, Li, Wei, Zhang B, Zhang S, Zhang Z, and Zhu that explained what is going on with the giant panda population.


These researchers believe, along with many others, that the giant panda was destined to become extinct. Through population genetics they have found that giant pandas have extremely low genetic variability. This means that the panda isn't able to adapt well to environmental changes and mutations, if they occur. On the bright side researchers hope to find a way to increase the variation in the giant panda genome in hopes that its ever nearing extinction may either be pushed back or never happen. From what I understood of the article more scientists are looking at the giant panda demographics and hoping to find answers with different populations.

The answer to yesterdays question is your genome is .1% different than mine. All humans are about 99.9% similar.

What do you think about this reason for the possible extinction of giant pandas? Have you heard anything like this for other species?


Hazel said...

I knew they were endangered but I thought it was just down to their extremely low breeding rates.

Apparently it's about 36 hours a year in which they can breed!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

I admit I haven't followed this story. It seems to me though a natural extinction is far different than humans killing for profit and fun.
I don't know that man should mess with the natural progression of life.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah humans are to blame for most extinction in one way or another. But I too read they don't mate more than a few hours a year or something like that, and with so little of them that is just leading down the extinction path.

Anna Smith said...

They only breed a few hours a year? Damn! I think if it's natural extinction we shouldn't really mess with it, what's meant to be is meant to be. For for all those extinctions that are our fault, something does need to be done. We certainly shouldn't hunt for sport etc :)

Universal Gibberish

Juliana L. Brandt said...

That is incredibly interesting. It's fascinating how much scientists can do and hopefully they'll be able to help save the pandas. They are such a beautiful animal.

Gossip_Grl said...

I always thought that it had to do with breeding in captivity nice story on this and the Pandas

Jennifer Macfarlan said...

Hazel - Oh wow I did not know that! That's probably a large reason as well.

Mary - I have to agree with you, if it's a natural process we should just let it go. But it's human nature to want to help, I think.

Pat - You make a valid point, with already so little pandas the rare breeding won't help.

Anna - I completely agree with everything you say!!!

Juliana - A part of me hopes they will be able to help them too!

Gossip_Grl - Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

Cindy Dwyer said...

Interesting post. I can't help but wonder if they came close to extinction long ago, which reduced their gene pool to just the few surviving groups?

Sharkbytes said...

Great theme! Those gene pool things are really important. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

Jake and Terri said...

I wonder how true that is for other animals that have become extinct. I wonder what changes to the giant panda genome will do generations down the road. Very interesting post! Thanks!