Mr Popoola Ayo, a scientist has called on the Federal Government to establish a Gen Bank where tissues of animals will to be conserved and stored for future use.
Ayo, who is a Reproduction Biotechnologist with the National Biotechnology Development Agency, made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Gen Bank is a comprehensive database that contains publicly available nucleotide sequences for more than 240,000 named organism obtained primarily through submissions from individual laboratories batch submissions from large-scale sequencing project.
He said that the semen of animals would be conserved for years in the Gen Bank and “if an animal is endangered, the semen is used to inseminate another female animal for reproduction purpose.’’
The scientist said that the reproduction process was carried out to ensure the continuous existence of such animals if any of them went into extinction.
“These are things that can create jobs, many spices that we have and people are talking about existed before, we only hear about them, we have not seen them because they have gone into extinction.
“The Guru breed of cache along the Lake Chad has gone into extinction and it had been declared by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the FAO that we should watch.
“But we are not watching it until when we wake up one day and say these animals existed but we don’t have them again, this is what we are saying conserves what you have as a country,’’ he said.
Ayo explained that in the conservation, “the FAO has three levels of approaches, the first level is to characterise and know what is inside them, the genomic analysis and do the inventory.’’
“The next thing you come up with is breeding strategy which tells you which animals should meet together.
“The next level of conservation is for you to know what we have and what each bottle contains, if anybody needs the pure breed, we can say one bottle is 1miillion dollars because you need it.
“Or instead of the money, you look at the number of animals, you can take in exchange, that is what we are talking about.
“We are going to take it further, we have talked of science in the next two months. We will be talking of the application,’’ he said.
Ayo said that Nigerian scientists had some level of competency and capacity that government could be explored for economic growth.
“If any country wants a particular trait from us, we can say I am releasing to your country but you are paying this in foreign currency.
“With this do you know how many people we can build their capacity and how many jobs we can create along that value chain?’