The panda's roots


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A presentation for elementary school students, which I present at a 4H program for kids.

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The panda's roots

  1. 1. The Panda’s RootsDr Karobi MoitraClare Boothe Luce Professor of Molecular BiologyAssistant Professor (Tenure-Track)Trinity Washington University DC
  2. 2. The story begins here in Washington DC in 1972…..The People’s Republic of China made a gift to the peopleof the USA- 2 giant Panda’s: Ling Ling and Hsing HsingOver a million visitors came to see the pair in 1972
  3. 3. Throughout the 70’s every American hoped for a babypanda, however, sadly that was not to be……
  4. 4. Until July 21st 1983…………On this historic day Ling Ling gave birth to the first babygiant panda born in the USAIt was a tiny, hairless mouse-like infant, weighing ????Can you guess how much the baby panda weighed?(Adult panda’s weigh 220-250lbs/100-113 kg)
  5. 5. Ling Ling’s infant weighed a minute 0.2lbs (134g)…… Sadly the cub only lived for 3 hours, it died of aPseudomonas bacterial infection acquired in the mothers birth canal
  6. 6. The case for paternity………. Hsing Hsing was Ling Lings mate but Chia Chia another male panda could also be the father Who was the father of Ling Ling’s cub?
  7. 7. Can you figure out how the paternity of Ling Lings cub was determined? Hint: it involves proteins
  8. 8. Snippets of skin were taken from the dead cub and it’s prospective parents300 proteins were tested by O’Brien’s group from the panda’s skin cells using protein gel electrophoresis
  9. 9. SDS-PAGE (not actual Panda protein)
  10. 10. So who was the cub’s father? Chia Chia or Hsing Hsing?We will find out when we run a gel simulation
  11. 11. Solving a 150 year old Evolutionary Puzzle…..This involvement with the Panda paternity testinglead Steve O’Brien and his group to ponder upon this age-old question
  12. 12. Is the Giant Panda a bear or a Racoon?• Ursidae or Procyonidae?• Pere Armand David, 1869- bear• Alphonse Milne-Edwards (Paris Museum of NaturalHistory) examined pelts, skeleton and teeth- giantraccoon• Middle of the road group placed the giant panda andthe red panda together in Ailuridae
  13. 13. And the controversy continued for 150 years or so……until 1985
  14. 14. How was the ancestry of the giant panda solved?
  15. 15. The Molecular Biology Toolkit:1. Protein analysis: Were allozymes (proteins) in Panda similar to bears or racoon?2. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis Were mitDNA sequences in Panda similar to bears or racoons?3. Organization of chromosomes Were chromosomes in the panda derived from bears or racoons?
  16. 16. Construction of a Phylogenetic Tree
  17. 17. Conclusion: Giant Panda’s are closer relatives of the bear family (Ursidae)than of the racoon family (Procyonidae)!
  18. 18. Reference:Tears of the Cheetah by Stephen J O’Brien