Cheetahs are very inbred.
They are so inbred, that genetically they are almost identical.
The current theory is that they became inbred when a “natural” disaster dropped their total world population down to less than seven individual cheetahs – probably about 10,000 years ago.
How does inbreeding affect the cheetah?
Inbreeding threatens cheetah population with extinction. Scientists found that all cheetahs are genetically very close to each other. Cheetahs face difficulties in reproduction and are susceptible to viruses because they are genetically too similar.
What caused the cheetah population to bottleneck?
The prevailing hypothesis is that cheetahs experienced what is known as a genetic bottleneck. Just as a bottle narrows from its base to its neck, a genetic bottleneck occurs when a gene pool is narrowed to a fraction of its former diversity.
Can cheetah populations recover lost genetic diversity?
Cheetahs survived a population collapse more than 12,000 years ago that led to inbreeding and a loss of genetic diversity. They had expected to find that, as a result of their lower genetic diversity, the cheetahs in the wild would have poorer sperm quality than those in zoos.
Why is low genetic diversity bad for cheetahs?
Pressure from climate change, hunting by humans, and habitat destruction are reducing their populations. Cheetahs also face problems from their own genes. Cheetahs have a low rate of reproductive success meaning that, as a species, they are not always able to reproduce.
Are cheetahs going extinct?
Vulnerable (Population decreasing)
Can inbreeding cause extinction?
A fundamental assumption underlying the importance of genetic risks within conservation biology is that inbreeding increases the extinction probability of populations. Although inbreeding has been shown to have a detrimental impact on individual ®tness, its contribution to extinction is still poorly understood.