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Paternity Testing – Panda Paternity Puzzle


Pandas are notoriously backward in coming forward when it comes to reproduction but scientists are hoping that paternity testing can help to secure the future of these much loved but endangered bears. According to a report by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, it is hoped that paternity testing may prove a vital tool in securing the long term future of giant pandas in the region. Researchers from the institute have been collecting DNA samples from giant pandas and are subjecting the samples to various DNA tests in order to try and increase the levels of genetic diversity amongst the panda population.

Paternity Testing – Daddy Day Bear

Paternity testing is proving an important process in the attempts to prevent the extinction of giant pandas in China. It is an unfortunate fact for pandas that it is increasingly problematic to maintain genetic diversity amongst their population. Generally, most pandas in captivity are inseminated artificially from several males and when coupled with natural copulation, the actual paternity of the cubs is never known. In addition to this, the genetic makeup of pandas living in the wild is also something of a mystery and the paternity testing and DNA sampling will help the Chinese researchers to garner a greater understanding of the giant panda in the hope of preventing its extinction.

Paternity Testing – A Collaborative Process

The increased prevalence of paternity testing on giant pandas in China came about due to a collaboration with the University of Liverpool in the UK. Dr Phil Watts from the University, stated, “It's part of a global collaboration to prevent the giant panda from becoming extinct. Chengdu Research Base cares for over 30 pandas raised through a captive breeding programme. But breeding isn't just about increasing the numbers of giant pandas per se. It is likely that inbreeding will have severe consequences, and maintaining genetic diversity is crucial to the success of the giant panda breeding and release programme.” The use of paternity testing is a vital process when it comes to achieving this aim and it is hoped that this will make pandas a feature for generations to come.

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