A Real-World Jurassic Park? Evaluating the potential application of captive breeding programs for the Galápagos National Park through the design of breeding pairs for “extinct” lineages of the Galápagos Giant Tortoise

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Gisella Caccone
Essay Abstract: 
Studies show that a region of Volcano Wolf on Isabela Island in the Galapagos contains Galapagos Giant Tortoises with genetic lineages from extinct species. On a recent expedition to this region, 38 tortoises who were thought to have these relic lineages were relocated from this area to the breeding center on Santa Cruz Island. In this thesis, I analyze the DNA of these individuals using microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA assay for the individuals that had Floreana lineage, which was previously considered extinct. Finally, I examine the complexities behind captive breeding programs and measure the potential application of these programs for the ecological restoration of the greater Galapagos.