What can reveal the genetics for the Egyptian Vulture

02.04.2014
Photo: Stoyan Nikolov

Over 60 Egyptian vultures DNA samples from the Balkans will be analyzed by the end of summer. The aim of the study is to compare the genetic diversity between the populations of the species in the Balkans, Western Europe, and Asia Minor. This will allow assessing the level of inbreeding – mating of pairs who are genetically closely related. Inbreeding results in shrinking the gene pool of the inbred species (this is especially valid for endangered species, represented by a small number of individuals, and isolated populations). Inbred populations have a reduced capability to adapt to changes in environmental conditions, increased risk of genetic disorders, as well as reduced fertility and lower birth rate. The study should answer many important questions in this direction and will help us to make the right decisions regarding planning of further measures for the conservation of the species.

In addition, samples from museum exhibits were also collected. Since the larger the population is, the more diverse is the gene pool and the healthier and more adaptable it is, comparison of the genetic profiles of the two groups will help us to assess the direction of changes of the genetic diversity in the Balkan population. The oldest exhibit of Egyptian Vulture in Bulgaria is from 1893, while in Greece – it dates from the distant 1853!

We would like to thank especially the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia and to the Natural History Museum in Kotel, the Zoological Museum of Athens and the Goulandris Natural History Museum for their assistance!

 

Photo: Stoyan Nikolov
Photo: Stoyan Nikolov
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Where is B14?

The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe

The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe