Molecular Ecology of Tigers - (E)

The national animal of India the Tiger has been studied a lot in the natural field conditions but very few scientists have ever attempted to study the `molecular ecology of tigers’. Dr Uma Ramakrishnan studies tiger populations but uses DNA and molecular signatures to understand the population biology of tigers. Such molecular studies are carried out using samples of tiger hair and scat and then subjected to modern biological techniques to understand if there is inbreeding or if specific animals are involved the cattle-lifting and human eating. The molecular signatures also help assess the exact population numbers and distribution of tigers. She has also studied rodents, bats and birds at the molecular level. Saving tigers through molecular techniques. Using molecular tools she explores bat populations and even wild elephant populations. Understanding what happens at the fringes of human and forest interfaces and how human and wild animal co-operation and conflict can lead to the emergence of new diseases like Nipah Virus and Corona viruses is also part of the research at this very unique laboratory. True surveillance to keep India healthy and alert against future pandemics.

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