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Issue 465, 23 April 2001

Save the sheep

A gene bank to protect the UKs sheep breeds facing extinction because of foot and mouth has been launched by scientists from Leeds and York universities.

The Heritage GeneBank will preserve the unique identities and diversity of UK sheep by storing germplasm from endangered breeds.

The first target Herdwicks - are unique to Britain and now close to extinction, because of infection with FMD and the pre-emptive killing of tens of thousands of sheep around infection sites in the Lake District.

Lakeland farmers contacted Professor Philip Gilmartin at Leeds, and Professor Dianna Bowles of York for help, both known as breeders of Herdwicks. They are working with reproductive biology expert Dr Helen Picton from Leeds and other colleagues from York and the Scottish Agricultural College, as well as local vets and Herdwick breeders in Cumbria.

See press release for more information.


 
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