Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flying pigs

Marijuana grows wild in Bhutan and only a few people, mostly poor subsistence farmers, take notice of it. But they don’t consume it- instead this wild weed is fed to the pigs to fatten them, keep them quiet at night, and restrain restless behavior during oestrous.

Perhaps this Himalayan Shangri-La Kingdom may be the only country where pigs do ‘fly’. My research involves unveiling the phylogenetics and phylogeography of these ‘flying pigs’ using FAO/ISAG-recommended microsatellite markers and partial sequences of mitochondrial DNA. My wishful thinking is that findings from this study could be useful for drawing up a program for strategic conservation and sustainable utilization of indigenous pig genetic resources in Bhutan.

By Karma Nidup

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