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Old 12-12-2005, 09:30 PM   #1
thesnakeman
Wink The Hybrid Issue

Some have mentioned the prospect of crossing different drymarchon subspecies, such as Texas Indigos, and Florida/Eastern Indigos. Or black tailed cribos x with unicolor. Some folks don't even know exactly what they have before they attempt to breed them. Some folks don't care. I care. I believe that all the subspecies integrity must be maintained as close to whatever is scientifically recognized as a sub. Perhaps there is the possibility of further subspecies breakdown, into more multiples. Perhaps there are actually fewer subspecies than currently recognized,...just multiple color phases of the same sub. I don't know, but I think we need to determine exactly what defines each sub, and then try and keep it that way. I think legislation needs to be passed making it a criminal offense to cross breed an eastern indigo snake with any other species. Some guy was even talking about trying to cross with a cobra. Can you imagine? I doubt if it's even possible, but I don't think it should be attempted.

Along these lines, we need to get busy with that DNA database. We need to join "Indigos Forever", and help get that started. In so doing, we need to sign an agreement to do everything in our power to prevent such activity. Let's here it.
T.
 
Old 12-13-2005, 08:02 PM   #2
keepergale
DNA Database

What is involved in getting something like this off the ground? I work at a zoo with a great research dept. I have never discussed this kind of project with anyone in the labs. I know they do similar work on other species. What i don't know is their willingness to do this for the private sector. I figure from our standpoint it maybe as simple as sending freshly shed skin to them for DNA collection. It is likely they would want to do the assays in larger lots from a cost standpoint.
We have talked about this for some time but nothing is bring done. Still everyone recognizes the value of this. It would be great starting point for a studbook to grow from too.

Gale
 
Old 12-13-2005, 08:35 PM   #3
thesnakeman
Gale,
Thanks for your reply. I'm guessing you are talking about the Indigo Genetic Database.

First let me say that they would not be doing it for the private sector. They would not be doing it for the government. They would not be doing it for zoos, or universities. They would be doing it for Indigos Forever. And Indigos Forever, is for indigos, both in the wild, and in captivity. And if I have my way, it will be participated in by all those who want to help, regardless of who they are, or what sector, they come from. What I want to see is one organization, encompassing all of the above, government officials, biologists, herpetologists, zoos, private breeders, universities, and etc., in collaberation together, for the purpose of conserving this species, in the wild, and in captivity. Anyone who may be in a position to affect change, in a positive direction. Right now what we have are a number of interested parties who are pretty much ingnoring one another. And that's just not good enough. We can do better, and I think we should. I also want this thing to be totaly transparent, from the start. Lay all the cards out onto the table, so to speak. But I recognize that there are breeders out there who's animals may or may not be entirely legal. So in order to get them on board, the government must do it's part, by offering imunity from prosecution to those individuals. That way, we can have a chance at getting to the bottom of who's got what, from where. And we will be able to get more peices to the puzzle. Stay tuned,...a website is comming!
T.
 
Old 12-14-2005, 09:52 AM   #4
Chris Kennard
Quote:
I think legislation needs to be passed making it a criminal offense to cross breed an eastern indigo snake with any other species.
The "criminal offense" should be in the misrepresentation, not the crossing itself. No one will make money off of crosses, therefore if a the threat of stiff consequences ensue, the desire to produce crosses....

Quote:
Some guy was even talking about trying to cross with a cobra.
I believe that may have been said in gest. I could be wrong.

Quote:
Along these lines, we need to get busy with that DNA database.
Great idea, but good luck getting half the "Core" involved in that one, lol. Too many dirty little secrets.

Quote:
But I recognize that there are breeders out there who's animals may or may not be entirely legal. So in order to get them on board, the government must do it's part, by offering imunity from prosecution to those individuals.
You may have had the legitimate herp community on board before making that statement. Are you kidding? Yeah, let's just give those practicing illegally and polluting gene pools as well as misrepresenting animals a little slap on the wrist and send them on their merry way. Puh-lease!

Quote:
That way, we can have a chance at getting to the bottom of who's got what, from where. And we will be able to get more peices to the puzzle.
Getting to the bottom of "who's got what" would mean getting cooperation. Unfortunately, many people have much to hide, so you won't be getting as much cooperation as you think, but I applaud your efforts and your cause is noble, but let's keep the "get out of jail free" card in the Monopoly game where it belongs. I will be contributing to your efforts in my own way and very soon. Stay tuned and fasten your seatbelts!
 
Old 12-14-2005, 05:39 PM   #5
matt rand
Three huge things needed

it is my hope that one to several of us will be able to look into the genetics of captive indigos, but there are three things (aside from cooperation and communication) that need to be realized to keep this conversation grounded.

the first is patience. even though the investigators on all the crime shows obtain DNA analyses within 10 minutes, the reality is that analyses are far more time consuming. the front end of the research will require weeks to months of getting protocols and methods up and running before any results or comparisons can be estimated.

the second is $ CASH. an obvious factor. it takes more than pocket change to do any meaningful DNA analysis (we're talking thousands of dollars).

this leads me to the third contingency, in order to get a time and monetary commitment from a lab, there needs to be something in it for the principle investigator or lab director. that means publication possibilities, and that means there needs to be a scientific question or hypothesis "worth" pursuing. this is harder done than said. there needs to be a valid biological question.

one possible route to help lower a couple of these hurdles is to get the USFW interested in providing some start-up funding, with the promise of being able to tell them something about natural population genetic structure.

it's certainly not impossible, it is worth doing, but my guess is that we'll need to find at least a couple of labs that would be willing to put in the time, resources, and money. that said, i am in the process of getting a molecular biology lab course to at least start trying to isolate a few microsatellite markers from some shed indigo skins. the money the school will be spending to teach students can be used to start isolating some useful DNA markers. but like i said, that course won't be taught until april, any possible results won't be secured until june, and that's just a start.

stay tuned,

matt
 
Old 12-16-2005, 03:28 PM   #6
VICtort
Dear Chris Kennard, I agree with the intent but I have no optimism that legislation is an effective solution. This would be difficult to enforce, and some people are very skilled at getting around even the best written legislation (and most is not well written...). Peer pressure is probably the best selective force, we as "Dry" community needs to have ethics. The falconers have overcome some of these same/related hurdles, mostly by writing laws/enforcing their own ethics.
 
Old 12-16-2005, 05:41 PM   #7
Chris Kennard
Mr. Herrick....

[Dear Chris Kennard, I agree with the intent but I have no optimism that legislation is an effective solution. This would be difficult to enforce, and some people are very skilled at getting around even the best written legislation (and most is not well written...). Peer pressure is probably the best selective force, we as "Dry" community needs to have ethics. The falconers have overcome some of these same/related hurdles, mostly by writing laws/enforcing their own ethics.]

I was simply making a point and not endorsing any "legislation" in an effort to promote new insight for the gentleman who started these threads. As far as the captive population is concerned, nothing will ever be accomplished if noone is held accountable for crossing and misrepresenting drys, thus defeating the purpose of using captive pops as a future measure of preservation of Drys and their subspecies (not that I agree there is a connection). Again, just making a point. Try to get a stud book established. But not for certain people's unwillingness to cooperate in order to protect dirty little secrets, you would be able to trace ALL Drys back to their founders. Not gonna' happen. Peer pressure? Depends who the minority is.
 
Old 12-19-2005, 02:09 AM   #8
thesnakeman
What about a breeders association? Of course it's strictly voluntary, but for those involved it may have benefits. Peer pressure is a powerful thing indeed! And I'd think that the powers that be, would be more inclined to work with us, instead of around us, or in spite of us. If the members of this association were to draw up, sign up, and agree to a certain "code of ethics", complete with husbandry, breeding practices, and business ethics, those members might enjoy a higher level of credence with the rest of the indigo comunity, IE; the government, zoos, and universities. As it stands right now, it's basically every breeder for himself, doing whatever they feel like. And therefore the entire private breeder community is being left out of the equation. We are basically being ignored and categorized with the poachers. Why,...because we can't seem to get it together. There is always strength in numbers. And the greater the numbers, the greater the strength. Once the ball starts rolling, the members of this association could deny sales of couperi to anyone who refuses to sign on. We have to start somewhere, and I think that would be as good a place as any. Then as those individuals who refuse to comply, and are increasingly left out of the loop, they will be easier for the government to zero in on, and hopefully eliminate. Once we prove that we are responsible, and conservation minded, we might just be included in some things. We have to build a good rep for ourselves, and demonstrate some integrity. Otherwise, the captive gene pool as far as "private breeders" go, will suffer, and so will our genetics. And we will continue to be thought of as irrelevant.
T.
 
Old 12-20-2005, 10:02 AM   #9
Chris Kennard
integrity....

you have snakeman.

Quote:
We have to build a good rep for ourselves, and demonstrate some integrity.
Unfortunately, integrity and honesty don't seem to be required traits in the herp industry to make a name for oneself.

Quote:
Otherwise, the captive gene pool as far as "private breeders" go, will suffer, and so will our genetics.
Too late! Some Texas gene pools are quite polluted. Unless certain people step up to bat including members of the "core", that captive gene pool will always be suspect in many collections.
 
Old 12-20-2005, 04:32 PM   #10
epidemic
There is a fourth hurdle Matt did not make mention of; the cooperation of the private sector to contribute correctly collected DNA material and provide accurate background information regarding the specimens for which DNA material has been submitted.
I attempted a similar project a couple of years ago, regarding Pituophis ruthveni maintained within private collections, and only two individuals were willing to contribute DNA material.
Getting the USF&W on board such a venture would be a great idea, though I doubt they would harbor much of an interest in such as their primary focus, in the research arena, has more to do with wild populations, hence their name. I do believe the enforcement branch of the USF&W would harbor a degree of interest in such a project, as such comparisons could assist in their quest to suppress individuals poaching from the wild.
I believe the AZA http://www.aza.org/ and ISIS http://www.isis.org/CMSHOME/ would be the best organizations to approach, for funding to conduct DNA analysis of the captive D. couperi population, since their primary objective is to ensure the genetic diversity of specimens maintained within zoological collections is maintained. There are also a host of privately funded wildlife foundations which could be approached.
I have been giving consideration to such a project, though the genetics lab I work with is still a bit "put off" by the lack of cooperation demonstrated by private individuals maintaining captive P. ruthveni, in assisting with the donation of DNA material for the project I attempted to undertake.
I know of two universities currently giving serious consideration to conducting DNA analysis involving Drymarchon spp., though they are primarily interested in the systematics of the Drymarchon genus, not simply D. couperi...

Best regards,

Jeff
 

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