Under the Biodiva project (2004-2007) and in partnership with Vietnamese research organizations, CIRAD is conducting several operations aimed at inventorying, characterizing and safeguarding these now threatened animal genetic resources. These multidisciplinary operations combine field activities and a more fundamental approach to genetics.
The sika deer now only exists in captivity
As regards characterizing the biodiversity of endemic domestic species, 2000 field questionnaires have been completed in an inventory. The aim was to define the zootechnical characteristics of the animals and the socioeconomic characteristics of traditional animal production systems. Molecular tools were used for genetic characterization of 7000 georeferenced biological samples taken from livestock during inventories. The data gathered were analysed using a software developed specifically for thematic mapping of animal populations (geographic information system).
The sika deer is of major economic and traditional importance, as the velvet from its antlers is used in traditional Asian medicine. The species now only exists in captivity, and there is a substantial risk of genetic drift due to inbreeding and interspecific crossing. In the hope of conserving the deer, researchers have gathered data on its growth, diet, etc, and those data have been analysed using a software designed specially for managing Cervidae, so as to implement an appropriate rearing strategy. Village workshops have also been organized to train more than a thousand farmers in good practice and rearing techniques.
Saving large wild bovids from extinction by reproductive cloning
As regards the remaining populations of large wild bovids, the Biodiva project has adopted a dual conservation approach. This has meant somatic cloning in the laboratory (using non-reproductive cells) to conserve two species threatened with extinction: the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and the gaur (Bos gaurus). In vivo reproductive cloning of the saola in bovids now looks like being successful, and numerous embryos have been obtained at the VAST reproductive biology laboratory. What now remains is to conduct pre-implantation tests on various species that could act as recipients. However, trials conducted by INRA have already shown that the embryos develop normally for up to twenty days after their implantation in a bovid uterus. This is very promising, since the approach could be extended to other threatened bovid species such as the gaur.
The in situ approach concerns the gaur, the banteng (Bos javanicus) and the wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee), which are very threatened in Vietnam. The aim is to draw up appropriate management plans to ensure effective conservation of these species. To this end, it is first necessary to determine how many animals there are in the remaining herds. Again, the chosen approach makes use of molecular tools: more conventional approaches are not possible due to very low numbers of animals involved, which make observations difficult. Non-invasive DNA samples are being taken from faeces collected in the field (Cat Tien National Park) and then analysed (NIAH molecular biology laboratory). Individual genetic markers are then used to estimate the demographic parameters of these populations. There is still a substantial amount of modelling and analysis of their viability left to do. This stage will eventually help us to understand the demographic risk parameters and determine the most effective way of rebuilding numbers.
A conservation strategy that needs to be extended to the region as a whole
Alongside this work, Biodiva is also implementing local pilot projects aimed at conserving and promoting this animal diversity. Six microprojects have already been identified with local players, centring on animal populations of interest for various reasons: productivity, prolificacy, adaptation to specific environments, resistance to certain diseases, dangerously low numbers, etc. Another microproject concerns the development of sika deer farming (Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces), with the installation of a pilot byproduct production, packing and marketing unit (velvet, meat, etc). These microprojects are due to be launched in 2007.
These results are of vital importance on a regional level. In time, two other countries in the Indochinese Peninsula, Laos and Cambodia, which are faced with the same need to inventory and conserve their animal biodiversity, are to be associated with the initiative.
Helen Burford | alfa
New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Robotic weeders: to a farm near you?
10.01.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy