Candiles is the lynx chosen by cyentist to unveil the genome of this species. But he is not the only one who is under the microscope. Lynxgenomics' team is working in parallel with samples taken from another ten iberian lynx and one more from an european lynx. They are trying to read their DNA using an specific process called re-sequencing due to built a genetic data base in order to compare them with the aim of find differences.
Pavón, Almoradoux, Gazpacho and Borja comes from Doñana in Huelva, but Arcex, Fran, Daman2, Beta, Jeme y Jub has been risen in Sierra Morena, in Jaén. As a consequence, the two isolated existent population are adequately represented in the research. All of them are mails, born between 1987 an 2010 and most of them are alive, except Borja, Pavón, Almoradux and Arcex.
They were selected after an exhaustive process where scientist tried to find lynx with the lower blood relationship as possible between them. This object could be reached using concrete analysis techniques to find known molecular markers. As for the reason that they are male, is the fact that plug has two different chromosomes, X and Y, although femail are XX.
Most of Lynxgenomics' Dozen comes from captivity populations because there's a large information about their health and their descendants, who have been under surveilance all of their life. But there are some lynx who lives in freedom. Among the wild population the chosen ones had lots of offspring. In respect to the european lynx, lives at the Córdoba's Zoo.
In summary, the research has samples from 12 male lynx, from different locations and families in order to have as much as diversity as it could be to allow comparisons. As for the sequencing --the process where the DNA is cut in small pieces that can be read and then assembled in the right place on the genome's structure-- in this group the genetic material has been handled different than Candiles' one. This is because they work with the latest will end with the first complete and orderly lynx genome, and it will be used as a guide to build the others genome.
As a consequence, Candiles' basis have been analyzed 200 times with the aim of finding the correct location in the DNA sequence, while the rest of the samples were read only 30 times, six times less intensity.
The research about this group of lynx will complement the information extracted from Candiles in order to have the entire picture about the current situation of the species and its genetic evolution over time. "We will be able to characterize the genetic variation in the lynx population and infer the evolutive process that have had influenced on them. We will also explore the lynx demographic history", said the project coordinator, José Antonio Godoy.
The main aim of this research is to generate the first map of the Iberian lynx genome, which will provide important information on the evolution of this species and on the genetic consequences of its decline.
The lynx genomic sequence has already been identified by CNAG and is in the process of being assembled. When the process ends, in 2012, the researchers will face a new challenge: interpret it and compare it to other felid genomes.