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Zschokke, S.; Studer, P.; Baur, B., 1998. Past and future breeding of the Indian rhinoceros in captivity. International Zoo News 45 (5): 261-276, figs. 1-6, tables 1-2

Location: Captive
Subject: Genetics - Methods
Species: Indian Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Lacy (1989) defined the founder equivalent as a concept to quantify the genetic status of a population. The founder equivalent (FE) of a population is the number of equally contributing founders that would be needed to produce the observed genetic diversity. The founder equivalent is usually lower than the actual number of founders, because unequal genetic contributions of founders lower the genetic diversity.
The founder equivalent is mainly influenced by the actual number of founders and the evenness of their contribution to the living offspring. In the case of the captive Rhinoceros unicornis population, the founder equivalent is negatively correlated with the sum of the founder representations of the three best represented founders (z = -2.91, n = 37, p = 0.0036).
In the captive R. unicornis population, the founder equivalent rose in parallel with the breeding success of additional wild-born animals. After 1974, the founder equivalent dropped because of the death of the only two descendants of the founders #8 and #13, and an increasing over-representation of the three best represented founders (# 5, 7 and 18). After 1980, the founder equivalent slowly recovered, but did not attain its former level until 1995. At present, the founder equivalent (FE = 10.52) is probably still too small to maintain a viable captive population over a longer period. Specialists agree that the genetic contribution of at least 20 individuals is required to maintain a viable population.

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