Conservation Genomics of Endangered Wildlife Species


Conservation genetics/genomics is an interdisciplinary field that aims to apply genomic methods to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Work in my lab is at the interface of ecology and evolution, employing computational and genomic approaches to reconstruct population-level patterns and infer process to study basic and applied questions associated with adaptation, behavior, demographic history, and taxonomic status. Research programs feature species of conservation concern, utilizing population genetic information to assess status, define conservation units and guide management programs both in the wild and captivity.  This line of research at our lab covers a wide taxonomic breadth, featuring organisms of local interest or international conservation significance, particularly those have been neglected or little known in China and Asia. Utilizing the powerful tools of genomics, these research programs have direct conservation applications for addressing issues of immediate local, regional and global concern, informing wildlife management and conservation policy-making.

We have established active collaborations with research groups from PKU and numerous institutes in China and abroad, to carry out several projects that are ongoing or near completion.  Some are listed below:

  1. Tiger (Panthera tigris)
    • The genetic origin of the last surviving South China tiger population in captivity.
    • A multiplex microsatellite PCR amplification system for the tiger and its application in wildlife forensics.
    • Tigers of Sundarbans: a genetic investigation of the unique mangrove tiger populations in India and Bangladesh.
    • The genetic ancestry of the extinct tiger subspecies.
    • Genetic ancestry of the South China tigers based on voucher specimens from museums and private collections.
    • A molecular forensic investigation of seizures of tiger products en route to China.
  2. Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus)
    • An evaluation of DNA extraction methods and post-extraction storage for Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) faecal samples.
    • Mitochondrial phylogeography elucidates the taxonomic status of Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus).
    • Individual identification and population size estimate of Asiatic black bears in Southwest China Mountains based on multi-locus microsatellite genotyping.
  3. Southeast Asian cats (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae, Prionailurus and Pardofelis spp.)
    • Phylogeographic partitions of sympatric Asian felids reveal significant Indochinese-Sundaic transition.
    • Phylogeography and evolutionary history of the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) inferred from multiple DNA genealogies.
  4. Pangolins (Mammalia, Pholidota, Manis spp.)
    • Molecular phylogeny and evolution of pangolins (Mammalia, Pholidota, Manis spp.).
    • Using DNA to track the dynamics and origin of illegal pangolin trade in Asia in the early 21st century.
  5. Przewalski's gazelle (Procapra przewalskii)
    • Phylogeography and genetic diversity of the critically endangered Przewalski's gazelle (Procapra przewalskii) based on mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite loci analysis.
  6. Red panda (Ailurus flugens)
    • Genetic analysis of red panda (Ailurus flugens) captive populations in North America as inferred from microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA.








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Luo Lab, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
Tel: +86-10-6275 2307 | E-mail: [email protected]