Genetic Methodologies as a Technique for Captive Management
A B S T R A C T OF P R E S E N T A T I O N
FB 21/Biologie, Institut für Genetik, Arbeitsgruppe Cytogenetik,
Postfach 3980, Saarstraße 21, 6500 Mainz 1, Germany
ABSTRACT: In view of growing human populations, methodologies for the captive management of fauna must be given higher priority. A hands-off policy will not improve chances of survival in the wild for species that will not reproduce in captivity. My own work started in the late 1960s at a time when it was the prevailing opinion that it would be impossible to breed chelonians in captivity. Since then captive reproduction at the Institut für Genetik has been achieved in 38 species, 22 of them repeatedly for a number of years. These include 16 kinosternid, nine emydid, eight testudinid, one trionychid, and five chelid turtles. There have also extensive observations on other species, including sea turtles.
The following turtle conservation aspects have been investigated: ecological specialization, which represents a degree of difficulty in captive management; comparisons between easily bred species and those so far impossible to breed; stimuli for mating; egg production and growth; deviations from natural development; threatening diseases; and reproductive strategies, especially with regard to genetics. DNA fingerprinting has been initiated to determine evolutionary distances between populations. The selection of species has always been undertaken with consideration as to whether the species could be properly cared for at the Institut, how the species is endangered, and with consideration for the genetic aspects of species conservation. Attempts have been made to include members of nearly all families.