DOE plans to protect wildlife genetic resources

April 4, 2022 - 16:45

TEHRAN – The Department of Environment (DOE) has prepared plans for collecting, maintaining, and upgrading biobanks, as well as identifying, registering, and protecting genetic resources, and also monitoring, and licensing the exploitation of genetic resources.

The first of these measures is the creation and development of biobanks and the systematization of wildlife bio-sample banks throughout the country, including universities, research centers and provincial centers of the DOE, in such a way that a network of bio-sample banks is formed and keep biological samples based on standards, Mohammad Medadi, head of National Museum of Natural History and Genetic Resources, said.

Referring to the certificating of bio-sample banks and the samples kept in these banks as other programs of the DOE and said that “the purpose is to systematize the access and exploitation of wildlife genetic resources for research and non-research purposes.”

The rules and instructions are being developed to determine the access to wildlife genetic resources from the stage of sampling and maintenance in bio-banks or in the stages of research and providing services, he said, IRNA reported on Monday.

Other important measures include monitoring the outflow of samples and genetic resources of wildlife from the country; the instructions for the departure of these samples have been prepared for research and non-research purposes and will be announced soon, Medadi stated.

About 5,000 samples of wildlife genes are kept in the country. The most important component of genetic resources, especially wildlife genetic resources, is the issue of biodiversity conservation. Genetic diversity is the most basic level of biodiversity conservation. Without the protection of the genetic diversity of species, the protection of biodiversity will not come true, he explained.

It is necessary to take the protection of wildlife, habitat, and biodiversity seriously in economic development and industrial activities, and the development programs should not be in conflict with the protection of biodiversity and natural habitats, he further emphasized.

Worldwide, conservation outside the habitat is a very important issue. Currently, the national wildlife biobanks are active in the National Museum of Natural History in Tehran and several other provinces, he noted.

In total, about 5,000 samples of wildlife genes are kept in these museums, which can be used in research activities, Medadi added.

The world's genetic resources have now become countries’ strategic resources due to their vital role in health, economy, food security, and biodiversity conservation.

The diversity of plants, animals, and microorganisms in each country is a rich source in the field of food. Proper utilization of these valuable resources, identification, maintenance, and protection of them in suitable habitats and even outside standard habitats is an important aspect of food security, he also explained.

Using genetic resources in medicine and vaccine production as well as the diversity of human genetic resources is an important component of health security according to modern medical approaches, he further highlighted.

The 15th of [Iranian calendar month of] Farvardin (April 4), has been designated as the National Day for Genetic and Biological Resources, the anniversary of the establishment of the National Biological Resource Center.

Persian species in danger

Iran has a high diversity of species due to geographical conditions, climatic diversity, huge water resources of the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf, and the Sea of Oman in the south.

According to the latest studies, about 1,300 species of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic fish, about 30,000 species of invertebrates, and 8,000 species of plants have been identified in the country.

Unfortunately, over the past two decades, human activities have led to alarming degradation of ecosystems, deletion of genes, species, and biological capabilities; Human threats to biodiversity have accelerated the most over the past 50 years over the entire history of human life.

Out of 1,300 species of animals in the country, 130 of which are endangered and threatened, Hassan Akbari, deputy head of natural environment and biodiversity of the Department of Environment, said in December 2021.


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