Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why Preserve Biodiversity

The preservation of genetic variation has become an important subject for many species. Various species of plants, animals, and microorganisms have been collected and stored, so the immense species variation might not be lost. The culture of cells and tissue, an area within biotechnology, is being used for the maintenance of live collections of the most varied types of plant species of economic importance or others at risk for extinction. For instance, the preservation of the genetic diversity of cassava is accomplished at tissue culture laboratories, where thousands of different varieties and species are maintained in small petri dishes. In the Frozen Zoological Garden in San Diego, California, there are live cellular lineages of species of several families of mammals, many close to extinction. It is expected that in the near future, cloning techniques will be used to regenerate whole animals from the cells. Had tissue culture technologies not been developed, the required space and costs to preserve rare species would be many times larger, limiting the number of species that could be preserved.

The preservation of microbial diversity has also been made possible by biotechnological techniques. If the bacteria, fungi, and viruses had to be maintained in their traditional hosts, only a small fraction of the biodiversity of microorganisms could be preserved. The germplasm banks of bacteria and fungi require a relatively small and rudimentary laboratory for preservation. The main objectives of microorganism gene banks are related to the preservation of species for subsequent laboratory studies.

Legal mechanisms should be developed to protect the biodiversity of the world. The mechanisms should promote the conservation of biodiversity and its use for the well-being of mankind. Developed countries and many others have taken the lead to ensure germplasm preservation for years to come. Extensive efforts are being made to characterize, catalog, and store the germplasm resources collected over many years from all over the world. Further steps are being taken to guarantee the preservation of the biodiversity of ecosystems and centers of origin for future research. Biotechnology will benefit from the world's biodiversity, while creating a means of preservation and continuation of the diversity of life found around the world.

There is an incredible amount of biodiversity worldwide, and much of it is relatively unknown. Despite the actions to explore this diversity, steps are being taken to characterize and preserve this valuable resource.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Bio diversity

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