In a recent study biologists were able to distinguish five haphlogroups of the Florida Panther. A haphlogroup show an evolutionary link that traces mitochondrial DNA. It’s like following footsteps to find where a species came from. Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA found inside the mitochondria of cells. It’s passed down from the mother of an organism.
The origins of the haphlogroups are show in this map. PCO1 originated from the Costa Rica and Panama region. It’s suspected this was a transplant prior to 1995. PCO2 is native to Florida. PCO3 and 4 originated from Texas approximately 44,000 years ago. The fifth, PCO5, is still being determined.
So, what does this mean? Some say that it means the Florida Panther is no longer a Florida Panther. In the case of haphlogroups that isn’t exactly how it works. haphlogroups trace an extremely long lineage. This means that even before Texas cougars were introduced the lineage still existed. Surely if someone of Asian descent had a child with someone of African decent it doesn’t erase one lineage or the other. It simply adds more of a variety of genes to the pool. This increased gene pool is what the Florida Panther needs for the species to survive. This survival is important for the health of the overall ecosystem.
#Floridapanther #puma #phylogeny #haphlogroups #florida
Source: Alexander Ochoa, David P. Onorato, Robert R. Fitak, Melody E. Roelke-Parker, Melanie Culver; Evolutionary and Functional Mitogenomics Associated With the Genetic Restoration of the Florida Panther, Journal of Heredity, Volume 108, Issue 4, 1 June 2017, Pages 449–455,