HYDERABAD: Quite alike the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, where seeds from across the world are being stored as a last resort for humanity to face doomsday, Hyderabad-based National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank (NWGRB) will serve as the last ray of hope for conserving endangered animals from India.
The genetic bank, which is the only one in India and among just a handful in the world, presently holds genetic material like DNA/RNA, cell lines, blood, semen, eggs and tissues of 23 endangered animals from India including Tiger, Lion, Thamin, Hyena, Wild Dog and Wild Ass.
The most radical use of these genetic materials and samples collected from wild animals would be in cloning in the future if an animal goes extinct, whereas some practical uses in conservation are establishing genetic resource for reproductive technologies in captive breeding programmes and also in studying characteristics of species, zoonotic diseases and wildlife medicine.
Located in the Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) at Attapur which is managed by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), the bank was dedicated to the nation on Sunday by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology.
While LaCONES has been collecting the genetic samples of endangered species for past several years, they were individually being stored in containers. However, with the NWGRB in place now, it will not just provide a single safe bank for storing all the samples but will also help in storing samples of a large number of wild animals as it has a capacity of storing 17,000 vials.
With this new addition, LaCONES can also expand their sample collection from endangered wild animals located in various zoos across the country. As of now, a collection of the genetic material for storage is being done only from Hyderabad zoo. He also flagged off a batch of mouse deers to be translocated to Amrabad tiger reserve.