CZA sets up a network of zoos for the preservation of genetic material

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is setting up a zoo network consortium, starting with five zoos, as a pilot project to serve as biological repositories for the preservation of wildlife genetic material in the form of a cryo-bank of genetic material, sperm, oocytes, tissues and cells for future applications in case the animal goes missing.

The five zoos are Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, West Bengal, Nehru Zoological Park, Telangana, Sakkarbaug Zoological Park, Gujarat, Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bengaluru, Karnataka and Sepahijala Zoological Park, Agartala in Tripura. These zoos will serve as genetic resource banks (GRBs) for the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB-LaCONES), based in Hyderabad, which is the only facility in the country for the conservation endangered species.

A dedicated facility at CSIR’s Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), has been using modern biotechnologies for the conservation of endangered wildlife since 2018.

So far, CCMB-LaCONES collected tissues from various wild animals that died naturally or for medical reasons to preserve cells, gametes and gonads with the cooperation of Hyderabad National Zoological Park. But the need to set up the consortium was felt as collecting at LaCONES has been very dismal for various reasons compared to the vast species found in the country. “Despite being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, almost 14% of all species in India are critically endangered.

These identified zoos will have highly sophisticated laboratories with the best equipment to serve as biological repositories for the center in Hyderabad which will then preserve the species in the form of a cryo-bank of genetic material, sperm, oocytes, embryos, tissues and cells for future applications. said an official from the Union’s environment ministry.

The CZA is the autonomous body under the ministry responsible for overseeing the operation of zoos in the country. “The large quantities of diverse biological samples need to be systematically collected from different parts of the country and stored in optimal conditions, then easily accessible to scientists for future study or application.

Considering the potential benefits of the wildlife biobank, zoos are encouraged to donate biological samples of valuable wildlife to these five identified genetic resource banks,” the official said of the statement. ambitious pilot project. Soon, other zoos will be placed under the aegis of the Consortium.

Genetic Resource Bank [GRB] involves the systematic collection of genetic material, tissues, gonads, gametes and cells, and stored at sub-zero temperatures without altering their integrity and viability, he added.

GRBs could be one of the promising options for future species management or research in preserving sperm, eggs and embryos from endangered populations, he said.

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