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Giant panda genome unveiled

DNA clues suggest little inbreeding, surprise on the bamboo diet

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3:56pm, December 13, 2009

What’s black and white and read all over? The giant panda genome. All 2.4 billion DNA base pairs of a 3-year-old female panda named Jingjing have been cataloged, researchers report online December 13 in Nature. The information will help researchers understand panda traits such as finicky diets. A thorough understanding of panda genetics may aid conservation efforts for the endangered bear.

“I was really thrilled to read this,” says conservation scientist Donald Lindburg, former head of the Office of Giant Panda Conservation at the Zoological Society of San Diego.

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