Sunday, November 18, 2012

Not the end of the Lonesome line

Adalgisa “Gisella” Caccone, senior research scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University and her colleagues coauthored a study in the journal Biological Conservation
about our friend Lonesome George (pictured). The Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) never mated, so his genetic line would have come to an end, but DNA analysis has revealed 17 hybrid tortoises whose ages suggest that purebred individuals may still alive. The researchers suggest that they may be the ancestors of tortoises thrown overboard by 19th century sailors and are going to Isabela Island for a look. “Our goal is to go back this spring to look for surviving individuals of this species and to collect hybrids. We hope that with a selective breeding program, we can reintroduce this tortoise species to its native home,” said Caccone.
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