IAEA Collaborating Centre in Brazil provides training in DNA analysis training to Peruvian Fellow

IAEA Collaborating Centre in Brazil provides training in DNA analysis training to Peruvian Fellow Mr. Juan Agapito Panta from the Instituto Peruano de Energia Nuclear (IPEN) undertook two months (March to May 2006) of training at the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of LIvestock at the Veterinary Faculty of the Universidade Estadual de Sao Paulo (UNESP). Aracatuba, Brazil. The laboratory is an official IAEA Collaborating Centre. The fellowship was supervised by Dr. Jose Fernando Garcia, a professor at the UNESP. The fellowship was associated with IAEA Technical Cooperation Project PER5027, "Use of Nuclear Techniques to Improve Alpacas Productive and Reproductive Methods".

The purpose of the fellowship was to provide training on molecular techniques and DNA analysis, with a particular emphasis on the use of the MegaBase 1000 (Amersham) for automatic DNA sequencing. The primary specific objective was to develop was the standardization of microsatellite markers to identify the genetic diversity present in a sample of 24 alpacas, from the farmers cooperative of SAIS TUPAC AMARU, in Junin, Peru. A second and complementary objective was training in the analysis and interpretation of the results obtained by means of the Genetic Profiler (Amersham) software.

As a result of the training, Mr. Agapito was able to identify three microsatellites that showed polymorphism in the alpaca population sampled (YWLL36, YWLL40 and YWLL29). An additional five microsatellites (LCA5, LCA19, LCA66, YWLL44 y YWLL29) are now being evaluated in Mr. Agapito's laboratory at IPEN. By using the three polymorphic markers, one is able to assign the animal genotypes with an exclusion probability of >0.90. This result demonstrates the feasibility of using microsatellite markers for assigning parentage to alpacas and suggests that these markers can be used in evaluation of genetic diversity in Peruvian alpaca populations and could contribute to genetic improvement programmes. Once the genotyping laboratory at IPEN is fully established and running at full capacity, the results from genotype analyses undertaken in the laboratory can be transferred to scientific specialists, advisers and breeders of alpacas to develop and apply strategies for sustainable improvement of the species.

Dr. Agapito found the fellowship to be a fulfilling experience not only scientifically and professionally, but also on the personal level. He is grateful to the hosts and would like to acknowledge the collaboration of Dr. Caris and Pedro and Erica, technicians in the laboratory.