The National Biobank of Thailand Spearheads the Conservation of "Thai Eld's Deer", Showcasing the "Animal Mating Selection Analysis" Program to Minimize the Risk of Extinction

     The Eld's deer, a species formerly extinct in the wild in Thailand, has seen a successful reintroduction to its natural habitat, through breeding and conservation efforts. Coupled with the captivity and care provided by state agencies, such as the Department of National Parks and the Zoological Park Organization under the royal patronage, Thailand is currently home to both the pure Thai breed and a hybrid of Thai and Burmese Eld's deer.

     In an effort to restore the Thai Eld's deer population to its normal status, the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Chulalongkorn University plays a significant role in conducting research to support the conservation of this Thai deer species, which is currently under state care. This endeavor involves a collaboration with the National Omics Center (NOC) of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to decode the deer's genetics in the country. Alongside this, the research team from the National Biobank of Thailand (NBT) has developed a platform for utilizing the deer's genetic codes to analyze mating selection based on genetic distance. This development led to the creation of a program to aid in "Animal Mating Selection Analysis," aiming to reduce the risk of extinction due to genetic diseases, and further support the conservation of the "Thai Eld's deer."

     The working mechanism of the program involves using bioinformatics technology to match approximately 30,000 positions of the Genotype in a matrix manner or all-to-all mating pairings to analyze genetic code differences. This information is used to select the sire and dam with the most genetic variation, which will help prevent close kin breeding.

     This program presents pairing data in a color gradient, from light to dark, representing the degree of genetic diversity, from high to low. This allows breeders to easily interpret and utilize the analysis results. The NBT has currently completed the development of the program and delivered the dataset of the Thai Eld's deer mating analysis results to the relevant breeders. Furthermore, there are plans to leverage this tool to support the conservation of other endangered species, such as the Indochinese tiger and the Gaur, in the future.

     In addition to analyzing the degree of genetic diversity, the program can identify whether an organism is of pure breed or a hybrid, and can also trace the lineage of the organism. This platform can analyze up to three generations, which is beneficial for confirming the accuracy of genetic lineage (Pedigree) and observing the characteristics that are passed from generation to generation (phenotypic traits) as supporting information for planning future breeding.

     In the future, the NBT plans to collaborate with the Zoological Park Organization under His Majesty the King's patronage, to integrate this program into the organization's system. This will allow conservationists and animal breeders in Thailand to benefit from the program in the future.

Data updated on May 18, 2023
Source: National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)
Tel. +66 2564 8000


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