December 13, 2009
Pandas Genetically Similar To Dogs
Chinese scientists have shown that panda genetics are surprisingly similar to a dog's.
Scientists from the Beijing Genomics Institute finished sequencing the giant panda genome in October last year but a detailed genome map was only recently completed, Xinhua news agency said.
The report said, "The research found there is a high genomic similarity between giant panda and dog."
The report then added that the research also supported the view of most scientists that the giant panda may be a subspecies of the bear family.
Xinhua said the giant panda has 21 pairs of chromosomes and more than 20,000 genes.
Scientist Wang Jun said, "We hope the genome map could help genetically explain why giant pandas have little reproductive capability so that scientists can help them deliver more cubs."
There are only about 1,600 pandas in China, 200 or so being raised in captivity.
Breeding has been a frustrated effort with the animals libidos being so low.
Breeders have resorted to showing the panda's videos of other pandas mating and putting male pandas through pelvic and leg exercises.
Scientists hope also to eventually gain a better understanding of why pandas subsist almost solely on bamboo, another factor viewed as inhibiting the species' range and adaptability.
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