Zoo institutes molecular investigation laboratory

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The Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species has announced the establishment of a molecular investigation laboratory at the San Diego Zoo.

This first zoo-based laboratory of its kind is housed in three buildings at the San Diego Zoo; one for analyzing DNA and RNA protein samples, a second for DNA and RNA isolation from tissue samples, and a third for diagnostic amplification of DNA.

The center, operated by the Zoological Society of San Diego, will use these laboratories for rapid development of molecular-based tests for investigating infectious and genetic animal diseases, particularly those relevant to zoo animals and wildlife.

Dr. Bruce Rideout, head of pathology at the CRES, said they now have the expertise, equipment, and laboratories needed to rapidly identify the cause of an animal disease outbreak and the capability to develop strategies to stop it. Furthermore, the diagnostic tests can be used for comprehensive screening of animals entering the zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park.