Dr. med.vet. Pamela Burger

Pamela Burger

Institute of Population Genetics
Department of Biomedical Sciences
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
Veterinärplatz 1
1210 Vienna
Austria

Tel: +43 (0)1-25077-4333
Fax: +43-(0)1-25077-439

 

Link zu Pamela Burger 1

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Abstract

Population genetic & genomic approaches in conservation: cases of wild camels and cheetahs

In conservation, a profound knowledge of the biological, ecological and ethological characteristics of the wild (target) species is critical. Management decisions, however, are sometimes based on only partial information or even on wrong assumptions. In this seminar I will present two cases where conservation actions were taken without comprehensive data of the genetic/ genomic composition of the populations, which could have had fatal consequences for their genetic integrity and maybe also for their survival.

Over a long period the wild two-humped camels in Mongolia and China have been considered not to differ genetically from domesticated Bactrian camels, they were named as subspecies of domestic camels and assumed to be feral (domestic runaways). In fact, they present a separate species Camels ferus, genetically distant to the domestic congeners. As the genetic status of these highly endangered wild populations is confirmed now, conservation strategies have been reformulated.

Since decades cheetahs have been presented as the prime example for a genetically depauperate species and global uniformity after they went through a genetic bottleneck. Based on this assumption a conservation reintroduction program was initiated to import South African cheetahs into Indian habitats, where Asiatic cheetahs had been extinct. However, the cheetah subspecies within the African continent and between Africa and Asia differ substantially. An introduction of South African individuals would potentially threaten the last surviving Asiatic cheetah populations (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) in Iran.

Curriculum vitae

see Pamela Burger's webpage 1