KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should consider establishing a gene bank for the sake of Bornean biodiversity preservation, University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) vice-chancellor Professor Ghazally Ismail said.
He said such a facility would keep biological samples of all plant and animal species at –195°C for future research
Speaking at the Regional Conference on Protected Areas and Biodiversity Management in Southeast Asia, Ghazally said such an initiative should be in place in view of the sensational success story of a baby rhino “born” to a father who died ten years earlier.
On June 5, the Buffalo Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo in the United States successfully inseminated an egg using frozen sperm kept in a gene bank 10 years ago.
Ghazally pointed to this as an example where a gene bank could help in the conservation of critically endangered animals in Sabah, especially its ongoing effort to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhinos through captive breeding.
He also said that comprehensive knowledge on genomics is particularly important in reducing the risks associated with inbreeding of captive animals.
The international conference organised by Yayasan Sabah was sponsored by Denmark-based NGOs such as Aage V. Jensen Foundations, and Nature, Ecology and People Consult (Nepcon), both of which helped in the state’s Maliau Basin Management Plan.