Seeking mates for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian

What’s a zoo to do when it desperately wants a panda cub but its only two adults aren’t that into each other? If a recent attempt at artificial insemination fails, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo may try to negotiate a replacement panda or two from China. Geneticist Jonathan D. Ballou of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has analyzed the gene pool of captive pandas and picked out potential significant others for female Mei Xiang and male Tian Tian, the zoo’s resident pandas. Read related article.

Sources: Jonathan D. Ballou, Population Manager for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Xie Zhong of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens. Photos by The Washington Post | Graphic by Cristina Rivero/The Washington Post May 14, 2012
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