DNA confirms Ethiopian lions are genetically distinct group
Addis Ababa, EthiopiaÃ‚Â – A pride of captive lions descended from the private menagerie of Emperor HaileÃ‚Â SelassieÃ‚Â of Ethiopia is genetically distinct from all other lions of Africa, a study has found.
The Ethiopian lion has a distinctive dark mane and is slightly smaller and more compact than other African lions. Now an analysis of its DNA has revealed the Ethiopian lion is also a distinct breed.
It is thought that there may be less than a few hundred Ethiopian lions living in the wild and scientists are urging that their unique genetic makeup should be preserved by a captive-breeding program.
DNA tests on 15 of the 20 Ethiopian lions kept in Addis Ababa Zoo have revealed that they form a separate genetic group from the lions of East Africa and southern Africa, said Michael Hofreiter ofÃ‚Â the University ofÃ‚Â York. Read more