An activity that began in Venezuela over 15 years ago, continues itinerant throughout the region and focuses on creating a strong network for conservation genetics. This year workshop will allow participants to keep updated in analysis tools, key concepts and promotes discussion among graduate students, practitioners, public officials, and recognized researchers that have contributed to conservation of biodiversity in Latin America.
With this actions, the workshop aims to maintain genetic diversity as one of the three fundamental levels of biodiversity and find ways to raise awareness to achieve it. In addition, it articulates the research process with the implementation of results, so they can become a real solution to the problems of conservation, connecting research with the social, legal and ethical context in which it operates.
The main difference between this workshop and others on conservation genetics is the relevance of the students’ research projects inside the course. The selected students must send a short version of their projects (5-6 pages), which will be discussed by the academic staff during an internal working meeting before the course to assign the advisory committee (AC) (3-4 teachers or specialist). The pertinence, weaknesses and strengths of the project are discussed between the student and each member of AC.
In this way, at the end of the course, the projects submitted in the application process will be improved through the discussion and feedback received from other peers and academic staff.
The target audiences are postgraduate students and Spanish-speaking professionals from Latin America, who have a demonstrated commitment to conservation and a wealth of knowledge that allow them to take advantage of the workshop.
The Red de Genética para la Conservación (ReGeneC – Conservation Genetics Network) was formed in 2004, initially as a Venezuelan network and later as a regional one across Latin America. A goal of ReGeneC has been to support the science and practice of conservation genetics in Latin America, which is a region facing enormous conservation challenges and yet insufficient capacity in any one country to train the local scientists needed to take up these challenges (Oliveira-Miranda et al. 2013, Rodriguez-Clark et al. 2015, Torres-Florez et al. 2017). To address this problem, this group design an annual, intensive workshop, offered 13 times thus far, in six countries: Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia.
Through the workshops contribution for two objectives of ReGeneC:
a) supporting the training of professionals in the field of conservation genetics in the Region,
b) promoting the establishment of a collaboration network among those who are working on conservation genetics in Latin America. Until now, 295 professionals from 19 countries across the region have been trained.
Rapid changes in genomic techniques, political and economic changes in the Latin America region, and an ongoing conservation crisis all require creative approaches to ensure our network remains up-to-date and relevant, and nothing can replace the opportunity for frank, face-to-face discussion as a means for considering options and deciding on future activities.
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