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Genetic Rescue

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Conservation efforts alone are insufficient for Ranthambore’s highly inbred tiger population. A recent study has suggested genetic rescue as a strategy to preserve the tiger population in Ranthambore National Park.

 

Issues:

The tiger population in Ranthambore faces issues of genetic isolation and inbreeding due to fragmentation and habitat loss. Inbreeding can lead to genetic disorders and reduced fitness, posing a threat to the population’s long-term viability.

 

What is Genetic Rescue?

Genetic rescue involves introducing individuals from a different population to increase genetic diversity and offset inbreeding in a small or isolated population. It aims to improve the population’s health and viability by introducing new genes and reducing the risk of extinction due to inbreeding depression.

 

Wildlife managers bring individuals from larger, healthier populations to smaller ones to achieve this. The aim is to reduce extinction risks and improve survival, particularly in endangered species, thereby mitigating inbreeding depression.

  

Definitions: 

  1. Inbreeding: Inbreeding refers to the mating between close relatives within a population. This can lead to an increase in homozygosity, meaning individuals inherit two identical forms of a particular gene, one from each parent.
  2. Inbreeding Depression: Inbreeding depression occurs when the offspring resulting from mating between closely related individuals exhibit reduced fitness or health compared to the population average. This can include traits such as decreased fertility, lower survival rates, and increased susceptibility to diseases.

 

 

About Ranthambore National Park:

Ranthambore National Park, located in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, began as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 before becoming a Project Tiger reserve in 1973 and a national park in 1980. Situated at the intersection of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges, it is bounded by the Banas River to the north and the Chambal River to the south. The park’s vegetation is predominantly mixed deciduous, with prominent plant species including Dhok, Banyan, Pipal, Neem, Babul, and Gum. Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary are linked to Ranthambore’s core by narrow corridors, forming part of the Tiger Reserve