Talk about twins! Cheetahs have very little genetic difference from one another. Researchers tested the genetics in the red blood cells of 55 cheetahs, both in the wild and at various zoos. There are 47 enzyme indicators that are generally used to examine the genetics of humans or other animals.

All of them gave identical results for every cheetah. There were also 200 total proteins checked and they all matched in all the cheetahs. Cheetahs are an endangered species with an estimated population of 1,500 to 25,000 cheetahs worldwide. It is this genetic uniformity that probably contributes to their status as endangered species. 

At some point in the past, cheetahs must have gone through a population bottleneck. This reduced genetic diversity, which in turn affected their ability to reproduce. In captivity, cheetahs have a very low reproduction rate, which was the reason for the genetic research in the first place. 

What they found was that cheetahs probably don’t have much better reproduction rates in the wild either. When genetic diversity goes down, the amount of sperm and viability of it goes down, therefore slowing reproduction rates.