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Table of Contents: November 2008

The genomic legacy of the lion, Panthera leo—one of the world's most charismatic carnivores—was studied using a large multigenic dataset. Population genomics of 357 individuals from most of the major lion populations in Africa and Asia refuted the hypothesis that African lions consist of a single, randomly breeding (panmictic) population and provided insight into the lion's natural history (see Antunes et al., doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000251). The high population structure observed highlights the importance of preserving lion populations in decline as opposed to prioritizing larger-scale conservation efforts.

Image Credit: Photo of lion cubs from Laikipia District, central Kenya, by James Warwick (http://www.jameswarwick.co.uk).

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