NATIONAL COORDINATION CENTRE ON ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES AND BENEFIT-SHARING

Checkpoint for monitoring the utilization of genetic resources of the Republic of Belarus
20 May 2021

A unique expedition aimed at restoring the Polesskaya breed has started in Stolin District. The expedition was headed by Elena Makeyeva, PhD in Biology, Associate Professor, Head of the National Coordination Centre on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing, the Institute of Genetics and Cytology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. The expedition group also included Tamara Drakina, the Chief Zootechnician and breeder managing horse breeding at “Belplemzhivobedinenie”, and Natalya Shilina, the Head of the “Studio of Green Technologies”, a legal entity, promoting the principles of sustainable territorial development.

The Polesskaya breed is an ancient population that has been forming for centuries on the territory of Pripyat Polesie among vast marshy and forested lowlands along the course of Pripyat, Goryn, and Pina rivers. In the professional language, it is called the Polesskaya aboriginal horse population, or simply the Polesskaya horse. First of all, it is phenomenally resistant to adverse environmental factors. And thanks to that, the horse has been able to survive in Polesie over the centuries. Another unique feature of the Polesskaya horse is that it carries the genetic material of the forest tarpan, completely wiped off the face of the earth by human activity. The last herd in the wild was destroyed in 1879.

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