Genetic Restoration of the Florida Panther

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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1641-1645
DOI: 10.1126/science.1192891

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Return of the Florida Panther

The Florida panther is an endangered lineage that has been the target of extensive human management to maintain genetic diversity within a small population. Now, Johnson et al. (p. 1641; see the Perspective by Packer) provide comprehensive genetic and demographic analyses of a project to rescue the Florida panther from inbreeding, low genetic diversity, inbreeding depression, and demographic stochasticity by outcrossing it to Texas pumas. The genetics and reproductive fitness traits of different panther populations and their crosses reveal the benefits of outcrossing on survival, genetic diversity, male reproductive characteristics, and population demography.