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Are Lesser Flamingos of India and South Africa genetically similar the animal genetics & biotechnology laboratory at Anand Agricultural University (AAU) has initiated a genetic study of the Lesser Flamingos in Gujarat. Further, the findings of this study will be compared with those conducted by European scientists on African flamingos. B. M. Parasharya, a research scientist (ornithology) along with D. N. Rank, in association with AAU, has taken up the project to conduct this study. Dr. David Harper from University of Leicester, England, and professor Crosa with Dr. Zaccara who had recently attended the second Global Bird Watchers Conference held in January, are the European scientists, who will take part in the comparative study. Parasharya said that “the study of genetics of African Lesser Flamingos has been conducted in the past abroad.
Their current mission is to compare their findings with the genetics of Indian flamingos, which are being studied from the feathers”, he said. He also said that “Harper and Crosa were satisfied with the facilities for genetic analysis housed at AAU”. The universities signed a letter of agreement fostering this collaboration to enable future development. Parasarya said, “Lesser flamingos are distributed in the Rift valley of East Africa, South Africa while a small population lives in western Africa. The Asian population, which is second largest one in the world, is restricted to Gujarat and some other parts of the country”. However, there is no scientific data available to support or reject the hypothesis intercontinental migratory movement of flamingos. The proposed study will provide data to prove or reject the hypothesis. Studies carried out by Zaccara suggested that “flamingo populations in east and South Africa are not genetically isolated”. The comparative study being carried out at Anand with Zaccaras findings, will throw new light on the migratory movements of the species. He said that the conclusion derived after the study will be helpful in conservation planning and identifying conservation priority areas for the species.
Microsatellite DNA and Mitochondrial DNA sequences are used to compare genetic affinity of closely related avian species. A comparison of a fragment of DNA from bird tissue provides tremendous information on phylogenic relationship between species and also among various populations of a same species. For extraction of DNA from bird tissue, shaded feathers are just enough. To study the extent of connectivity of these populations through genetic analysis is a less expensive method than studying migratory movement using rings or satellite transmitters.
Courtesy: Times of India
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