Conservation is about protecting and nurturing species so that they can survive, not only now, but also into the future. Ideally this means protecting genetically diverse populations and not simply breeding a few individuals. Unfortunately, this point is often overlooked by reproductive technologists, especially if they are more accustomed to working with humans, companion animals or agricultural species, where the goals are more usually directed towards obtaining offspring from particular individuals. This approach has tended to antagonise the conservation community, who are quick to develop an unreasonable suspicion of technological solutions, partly because they are unfamiliar with the scientific principles that underpin the reproductive technology. Unfortunately, this mutual failure to recognise that all parties are actually well meaning, has led to separate cultures that barely communicate with each other and thus fail to capitalise on the potential benefits that would come from a good working relationship. Notable successes with reproductive technology have only emerged where such relationships have been forged. In this review, we highlight, mainly for the benefit of the technologist community, the need to foster good working relationships with conservation managers and to recognise that the latest hi-tech approach to animal breeding is more likely to engender suspicion than enthusiasm.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2009|