Captive Breeding Reduces Reproductive Fitness

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Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 13h
DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5847.13h
CREDIT: HITOSHI ARAKI

Captive breeding programs to prevent extinction are now in place for restoring many endangered wild populations and species, although the impact of such programs remains largely untested. Araki et al. (p. 100) evaluated the reproductive success of captive-bred fish when they breed in natural environments. Captive-reared individuals with captive-reared parents have half the reproductive success of captive-reared fish with wild parents. The rate of fitness decline can be ∼40% per captive-reared generation, which suggests that breeding programs need further evaluation of their impact when used to restore declining wild populations.

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