El pasado miércoles 16 de marzo, el profesor de Biología Reproductiva del Instituto Zoológico de Londres, William V. Holt, impartió la conferencia ‘Novel reproductive technologies in wildlife conservation; do they have a role?’, en la Facultad de Veterinaria de la Universidad de Murcia. En declaraciones a Zarangollo.com, Holt ha resumido los asuntos tratados durante su intervención:
- I pointed out that environmental problems are happening on a global scale and that it is perhaps difficult to see how reproductive biotechnology can be helpful in reducing the threats and mitigating the negative impacts on biodiversity.
- Because so many species are at risk, it is not easy to decide which ones are most in need of support, whether by habitat preservation or other means such as assisted reproductive technologies.
- Despite these problems and uncertainties, the most useful role of reproductive technologies is to help with the genetic management of small populations, so that inbreeding can be avoided or minimised where possible, and species can continue to reproduce and evolve into the future.
- Nevertheless, the application of reproductive technology to species conservation can only be successful in cases where there is a great deal of background knowledge about the biology of that species. This is usually lacking because the species in question tend to be ignored until the populations are so small that little research in possible, and by that time it is too late to do anything very meaningful.
- I also pointed out that conservation objectives are best achieved by the use of population level approaches rather than treatments that apply to only a few individuals. The current first steps in applying assisted reproductive technologies to support endangered amphibian populations are a good example of this approach, as thousands of offspring can be produced with very little invasive technology (no need for surgery, embryo transfer, etc).