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Mexico performs genetic tests to save endangered turtles

Mexico City, Jan 8 (EFE).- Mexican scientists are carrying out genetic evaluations to determine the health status of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and find solutions for preserving the endangered species, the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) said Tuesday.

IPN said that it will incorporate the technical information into this species’ conservation program to enable its genetic variability to be analyzed, something that is essential in knowing whether the turtle can resist adverse conditions in its habitat.

“We still have to work to learn more about this species, but the genetic part will definitely help in developing new strategies for its management and conservation,” IPN’s Xochitl de la Rosa said in a statement.

To obtain a sample of its DNA, scientists approach the endangered turtles – known to Mexicans as “tortuga lora” – during their nesting activities.

During nesting is the perfect time to perform a biopsy on a turtle’s back fin and draw a blood sample from the neck, because when the turtles nest, they enter a kind of trance state in which they do not react to things of this kind.

Mexico and the US signed a binational agreement in 1978 to carry out joint work in this area, and that cooperation has taken the form of a partnership between the IPN and the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

De la Rosa said that the tests have contributed to a population increase in the species, which has helped prevent them from becoming extinct.

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