Associate Investigator

XU Xiao (2011-present)

PhD. Zoology, Sichuan University, 2011

Email:[email protected]

Research Interest: Comparative Genomics & Gene Mapping



XU Xiao received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Sichuan University in 2011, after two years’ visit at the National Cancer Institute, USA, where he took advantage of the unique animal model of domestic cat to study the coat pattern formation in mammal, and determined the first patterning gene Taqpep.  Xiao is broadly interested in the genetic basis of morphological variations of domestic cat and wild felids. Currently, he is primarily working on two projects: (1) using the high-throughput genome sequencing technology to reveal the genetic basis of coat color variation in the tiger, and (2) unraveling the genetic cause of silvery coat color of domestic cat.


  1. Luo SJ*, Liu YC, Xu X (2019). Tigers of the world: genomics and conservation. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences 7: 521-548. [Invited Review]
  2. Liu YC, Sun X, Driscoll C, Miquelle DG, Xu X, Martelli P, Uphyrkina O, Smith JLD, O’Brien SJ, Luo SJ* (2018). Genome-wide evolutionary analysis of natural history and adaptation in the world’s tigers. Current Biology 28(23):3840-3849. [Cover Story]
  3. Xu X, Dong GX, Schmidt-Kuntzel A, Zhang XL, Zhuang Y, Fang R, Sun X, Hu XS, Zhang TY, Yang HD, Zhang DL, Marker L, Jiang ZF, Li R, Luo SJ* (2017). The genetics of tiger pelage color variations. Cell Research 27: 954-957.
  4. Xu X, Sun X, Hu XS, Zhuang Y, Liu YC, Meng H, Miao L, Yu H, Luo SJ* (2016). Whole genome sequencing identifies a missense mutation in HES7 associated with short tails in Asian domestic cats. Scientific Reports 6: 31583.
  5. Xu X, Luo SJ (2014). How the white tiger lost its color, but kept its stripes. Science China Life Sciences 57(10): 1041-1043.
  6. Zhang MQ, Xu X, Luo SJ (2014). The genetics of brown coat color and white spotting in domestic yaks (Bos grunniens). Animal Genetics 45(5): 652-659.
  7. Xu X, Dong GX, Hu XS, Miao L, Zhang XL, Yang HD, Zhang TY, Zou ZT, Zhang TT, Zhuang Y, Bhak J, Cho YS, Dai WT, Jiang TJ, Xie C, Li RQ*, Luo SJ *(2013). The genetic basis of white tigers. Current Biology 23(11): 1031-1035.
  8. Kaelin CB*, Xu X*, Hong LZ, David VA, McGowan KA, Schmidt-Kuntzel A, Roelke ME, Pontius J, Cooper GM, Manuel H, Marker L, Harper CK, van Dyk A, Yue B, Mullikin JC, Warren WC, Eizirik E, O’Brien SJ, Barsh GS, Menotti-Raymond M (2012) Specifying and sustaining pigmentation pattern in domestic and wild cats. Science. 337: 1536-1541. (* equal contribution)
  9. Li Y*, Xu X*, Zhang L, Zhang Z, Shen F, Zhang W, Yue B (2011) An ARMS based technique for sex identification of red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Molecular Ecology Resources. 11: 400-403. (* equal contribution)
  10. Li Y*, Xu X*, Shen F, Zhang W, Hou R, Yue B (2010) Development of new tetranucleotide microsatellite loci and assessment of genetic variation of giant panda in two largest giant panda captive breeding populations. Journal of Zoology. 282:39-46. (* equal contribution)
  11. Wei K, Zhang Z, Wang X, Zhang W, Xu X, Shen F, Yue B (2010) Lineage pattern, trans-species polymorphism, and selection pressure among the major lineages of feline Mhc-DRB peptide-binding region. Immunogenetics. 62: 307-317.
  12. Xu X, Li Y, Wang X, Wei K, Zhang W, Zhang Z, Shen F, Yue B (2010) Zinc-Finger Intron 7: a new locus for sex identification of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Zoo Biology 29: 526-531.
  13. Wang X, Wei K, Zhang Z, Xu X, Zhang W, Shen F, Zhang L, Yue B (2009) Major histocompatibility complex class II DRB exon-2 diversity of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in China. Journal of Natural History 43:245-257.
  14. Zhang W, Zhang Z, Xu X, Wei K, Wang X, Liang X, Zhang L, Shen F, Hou R, Yue B (2009) A new method for DNA extraction from feces and hair shafts of south China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis). Zoo Biology. 28:49-58.
  15. Wei K, Zhang Z, Zhang W, Xu X, Liang X, He G, Shen F, Zhang L, Hou R, Yue B (2008) PCR-CTPP: a rapid and reliable genotyping technique based on ZFX/ZFY alleles for sex identification of tiger (Panthera tigris) and four other endangered felids. Conservation Genetics. 9:225-228.
  16. Xu X, Lin L, Zhang Z, Shen F, Zhang L, Yue B (2008) A reliable, non-invasive PCR method for giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) sex identification. Conservation Genetics. 9:739-741.
  17. Xu X, Wei K, Zhang W, Lin L, Wang X, Shen F, Zhang L, Zhang Z, Yue B (2007) A novel method for sex determination of giant panda. Annales Zoologici Fennici 44: 401-404.


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