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December 22, 2009

Ocio the Genetically Valuable Part 2: Red Band Right Wing

ocio-compressed

Hatched on 1 September 2006 at Tautphaus Park Zoo, “Ocio” is also a genetically valuable penguin. He has been chosen to breed by the African Penguin Species Survival Plan. He will be moved to our Penguin Love Shack on 5 January 2010 to encourage a bond with the female penguin “Safara”. These two penguins have shared an exhibit, so they have already spent some time with each other. “Ocio” has had a crush on female humans since he came to the Academy in 2007. I hope the Love Shack will encourage his interest in penguins and especially in “Safara”. I will update you in early February with the results.-Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 10:45 am

3 Comments »

  1. Hi, I was wondering why Ocio is genetically valuable. Is it that his ancestry traces back quickly to the wild? I’ve heard that some of your penguins are the 7th generation in captivity. Is Ocio’s captive lineage significantly less than that? Or do you really rely more on measured characteristics of their DNA? Are all penguins tested for a set of markers in their DNA, or are they actually tested for the presence of specific genes known to produce specific traits in the penguins? I’d also appreciate it if you’d let me know who were Ocio’s parents and where they were born.

    Comment by Scot — January 22, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  2. Hi Scot, the Species Survival Plan (SSP) does not directly analyze or measure characteristics of individual penguin’s DNA. Rather a mean kinship (MK) value is calculated for each penguin in the population using a formula. This basically gives a numerical value reflecting how closely related each animal is to the population (and gives us an important measure of just how rare an individual animal’s unique combination of genes is in the entire population). Animals with lower mean kinship values have relatively fewer genes in common with the rest of the population, and are therefore more genetically valuable in a breeding program, which is the case for Ocio. Preferentially breeding birds like Ocio will help to keep genetic diversity within the captive population above a level which is considered sustainable over time. Loss of genetic diversity would be expected to increasingly compromise reproduction by causing, for example, lower hatch weights, smaller clutch sizes, and greater hatchling mortality.

    Ocio’s parents both hatched at Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee and currently reside at Tautphaus Zoo in Idaho, which is where Ocio hatched. His mother goes by the name of “Bobbie” and hatched on November 9, 1993. His father is called “Phatz” and was hatched on March 26, 1994.

    Hopefully this makes sense and, as always, thanks for your interest!

    Comment by Penguins — February 7, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  3. Thanks very much for the detailed response. It does make some sense, and it will spur me on to read up on mean kinship, which I’ve heard mentioned a number now. From the reading I’ve now done online, it looks like a very interesting topic. As always… Thank You Very Much!!!

    Comment by Scot — February 10, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

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