Molecular Data for Population Management Scientific Advisory Group

The mission of the Molecular Data for Population Management Scientific Advisory Group (Molecular SAG) is to promote best practice applications of molecular data to the management of AZA's Animal Programs and member animal collections.  The Molecular SAG serves the AZA community by providing technical advice to its members and fostering effective collaborations with the academic molecular genetics community to positively impact collection sustainability and stewardship within AZA facilities.

This SAG advises the AZA Animal Population Management (APM) Committee, Conservation Department, and Animal Program Leaders on issues related to population management. It is overseen by the APM Committee.


  1. Offer current best practices for collecting and analyzing molecular data and communicate those best practices to the AZA community. 
  2. Maintain guidelines for integrating molecular data into the management of AZA Animal Programs. 
  3. Provide advice on whether specific AZA Animal Programs or member animal collections could benefit from molecular data. 
  4. Connect AZA community members with academic collaborators or service labs that can generate molecular data.
  5. Provide evaluations of projects that propose to use molecular data to influence AZA Animal Program or member animal collection management.  The SAG strongly encourages project evaluation prior to the start of sample or data collection, to ensure use of best practices and maximal impact of results for management.

The SAG can provide advice on using molecular data to:
ascertain sex
assign parentage
empirically estimate kinships
identify species or subspecies
quantify hybridization
test for disease
investigate a basis for heritable disease
investigate a basis for mate choice (MHC)

As a general rule, and in agreement with the Small Population Management Advisory Group (SPMAG), the Molecular SAG does not recommend that AZA Animal Programs base breeding recommendations on particular traits, a genetic locus, or suits of genetic loci. Please contact the SAG for further information or to discuss a specific, proposed scenario.

Interested in Becoming a Molecular Data for Population Management SAG Member?
If you are interested in becoming involved with or obtaining more information about this SAG, please contact Andrea Putnam, Molecular Data for Population Management Advisory Group Chair.

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