The first whole genome for the Canada lynx is one of 14 genomes the Vertebrate Genome Laboratory is making available for use by researchers studying evolution, disease and conservation. Other animals include the duck-billed platypus, two different species of bats, a tortoise, a cichlid fish, and male and female zebra finches.

UMass-Amherst researchers were part of the project that made the lynx genome available, as I learned from this MassLive story:

A genome is a “blueprint for life,” Lama said, carrying information about the genetic health of a species and its demographic and evolutionary history. This particular blueprint, now available to researchers worldwide, will also serve as a tool for conserving the cat — an iconic creature of the north that boasts big paws to better hunt its favored prey, the snowshoe hare, in deep snow.

“This can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape,” said John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, and a co-advisor to Lama.




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