Posted by : sanne

Genetics are very important to built up and maintain a genetic and physical healthy populations in captivity for the future generations, and will help to responsible breed for cooperation with in-situ re-introduction programmes. The aim of DNA- research is to prevent hybridization between different forms of the species.
The aim of ESF is to keep as close to the natural form as possible (selecting on apprearance can lead to many mistakes, to select from parentage is more correct).

What is Genetics?

According to Wikipedia: Genetics (from Ancient Greek genetikos, "genitive" and that from genesis, "origin"), a discipline of biology, is the science of heredity and variation in living organisms. The fact that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. However, the modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-nineteenth century. Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes.

Genes correspond to regions within DNA, a molecule composed of a chain of four different types of nucleotidesthe sequence of these nucleotides is the genetic information organisms inherit. DNA naturally occurs in a double stranded form, with nucleotides on each strand complementary to each other. Each strand can act as a template for creating a new partner strandthis is the physical method for making copies of genes that can be inherited.

The sequence of nucleotides in a gene is translated by cells to produce a chain of amino acids, creating proteinsthe order of amino acids in a protein corresponds to the order of nucleotides in the gene. This relationship between nucleotide sequence and amino acid sequence is known as the genetic code. The amino acids in a protein determine how it folds into a three-dimensional shape; this structure is, in turn, responsible for the protein's function. Proteins carry out almost all the functions needed for cells to live. A change to the DNA in a gene can change a protein's amino acids, changing its shape and function: this can have a dramatic effect in the cell and on the organism as a whole. Two additional factors that can change the shape of the protein are pH and temperature.

Although genetics plays a large role in the appearance and behavior of organisms, it is the combination of genetics with what an organism experiences that determines the ultimate outcome. For example, while genes play a role in determining an organism's sie, the nutrition and other conditions it experiences after inception also have a large effect.

What is a gene?

A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes, which are made up of DNA, act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. In humans, genes vary in sie from a few hundred DNA bases to more than 2 million bases. The Human Genome Project has estimated that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes.

Every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent. Most genes are the same in all people, but a small number of genes (less than 1 percent of the total) are slightly different between people. Alleles are forms of the same gene with small differences in their sequence of DNA bases. These small differences contribute to each persons unique physical features.

What is DNA?

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a persons body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.

DNA bases pair up with each other, A with T and C with G, to form units called base pairs. Each base is also attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule. Together, a base, sugar, and phosphate are called a nucleotide. Nucleotides are arranged in two long strands that form a spiral called a double helix. The structure of the double helix is somewhat like a ladder, with the base pairs forming the ladders rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules forming the vertical sidepieces of the ladder.

An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.

DNA is a double helix formed by base pairs attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone.

Criteria for requesting genetic examination

In a request for financing genetic examination, the answers to the following questions should be given.

1. Why is genetic examination for this species necessary?
2. Did comparable genetic examination take place already and what were the conclusions (preferably with added references and copies)? For the interpretation of the available examinations it is of course possible to fall back on the expertise within the ESF. Comparable genetic examination is examination on genetic differences in subspecies and subpopulations. It is particularly important to know the exact piece of DNA that was examined (what primer has been used. It is possible that it will be necessary to contact the examiner. Depending on the expertise of the studbook holder, this could be done by the ESF.
3. Are there animals of a known location within the captive population?
4. Are there external morphological aspects known, which could support or replace DNA examination in a later stage?
5. Is it reasonable to expect that still many more founder animals will be added to the studbook? A further comment is that in many cases it is useless to perform DNA examination on an animal bred in captivity if not at least the father can be examined.
6. Are all studbook participants, who are in possession of animals from the wild of this species, prepared to participate in this examination? This includes the contribution and the consequences, which may mean that the animals have to be transferred, for instance when on 1 location no ideal couple can be joined.
7. How many living founder animals are registered in the studbook?
8. How many dead founder animals (females), from which some first generation young still exists, are present in the studbook?
9. How many studbook participants are there and how large is the number of animals to be examined? (In cases where secrecy is demanded, a postal area or town is sufficient).

The questions mentioned above, directed at the applicant are specifically targeted so that the board can answer the following questions.
1. Does the examination yield any value (surplus value) and is there a reasonable expectation of any result?
2. What are the costs of a full examination?
3. Do we have to take into account repeating costs or is it a once only action?

To answer these last questions it is also important to know the viability of the studbook and the relation between the breeding rate and the death rate of the animals.

Genetics for studbook keepers