Thursday, 20 November 2014

Rare rays' DNA mapped to prevent inbreeding

Marine biologists want to take DNA samples from 120 rays in European aquariums to find out how diverse DNA is within the species, which will give clues as to how inbred individuals are.

This information will allow aquariums to pair up breeding adults that are more genetically diverse in the hope they produce healthier offspring. Inbreeding within a small breeding group can cause stillbirths and shorten individuals’ lifespans.

Undulate rays – which are found in the Atlantic including around the UK, and the Mediterranean Sea – are listed as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

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