MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Subject: Preventing loss of genetic diversity

Date: Sun May 11 22:23:42 2003
Posted by Karsten
Grade level: grad (science) School: No school entered.
City: No city entered. State/Province: No state entered. Country: No country entered.
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 1052709822.En

I was wondering, if it was unavoidable that a particular species was going to 
be lost (i.e. extinct), or even if it is regarded as highly endangered, would 
it not be a possibility to interbreed these with a related species of the same 
kind, therefore, ensuring that the genetic information of that species is not 
lost.  For example, the 5 sub-species of tigers and the 3 species of New 
Zealand Kiwi - each of which encroaching extinction.  These sub-species all 
have their own breeding programmes, to preserve genetic purity, but every year 
we are told that the chances of success are worse than ever…

Are not these sub-species all branches of the same ancestral parent population -
 and therefore, able to interbreed?  Therefore, would it not make sense to 
combine these sub-species into one big breeding programme?  

Sure, you would loose some of the unique expression of the sub-species, 
resulting in a mixed or more diverse expression of the two, but you would have 
a greater gene pool to work with, and a greater number of individuals.  Maybe 
even, by combining the sub-species it would rejuvenate the species, but, more 
off, it could possible ensure the survival of the species (rather than sub-
species) as a whole and prevent the wider loss of genetic diversity.

Or may be we should go further……, for example, and cross the tiger with lions 
to ensure genes unique to tigers are not lost and remain present in the wider 
gene pool…..   

Re: Preventing loss of genetic diversity

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