Development of the Research Center
In 1997, the Chengdu Panda Base established the first open laboratory for endangered animal research and conservation in China with a donation of over RMB 11 million granted by the former State Planning Commission (currently National Development and Reform Commission), Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, Science & Technology Department of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Foundation and the former Chengdu Municipal Development Planning Commission, and came to an agreement with Sichuan University on the establishment of laboratory through joint efforts in 2001.
In December 2001, the laboratory, named “Sichuan Key Laboratory for Reproduction and Conservation Genetics of Endangered Wildlife” by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China and Science & Technology Department of Sichuan Province, was defined as an open scientific research institution specialized in scientific research on ex situ conservation of rare and endangered wild animals such as giant pandas in addition to business development.
In 2007, the laboratory was approved as “The Sichuan Key Laboratory for Conservation Biology on Endangered Wildlife—National Key Laboratory Cultivation Base Co-constructed by Sichuan Province and the Ministry of Science and Technology”.
In 2011, the establishment of the “International Center for Giant Panda Conversation Biology” co-founded by the Chengdu Panda Base and Global Cause Foundation marked further development of scientific research of the Chengdu Panda Base.
Organizational Structure of the Research Center
The Research Center consists of Conservation Genetics Research Department, Reproduction and Ecological Research Department, Science and Technology Management Department and Information Technology Department.
So far, the laboratory has built a research team composed of PhD and MD holders in such disciplines like genetics, animal genetics, breeding and reproduction, veterinary medicine, and ecology and employed 46 associate senior and senior researchers and 30 associate researchers who are national experts or top professionals at both provincial and city levels, including 12 professors (1 academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 12 doctoral tutors), 7 associate professors and associate researchers, 27 associate senior researchers and 24 PhD holders. In recent years, the Chengdu Panda Base has stepped up efforts to expand its talent pool by building a large number of scientists and facilitating and improving talent education and training in addition to employing senior talents around the globe. In 2003, the Chengdu Panda Base was honored as “Advanced Unit of Talent Development of Sichuan Province” by the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee and Sichuan Provincial Government, and approved as a “Post-doctoral Scientific Research Workstation” by the former Ministry of Personnel of the People’s Republic of China (Currently Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China).
The research center, capable of researches in such fields as reproductive biology, conservation genetics, embryo engineering, alimentology, reproductive hormonology, ecology, etc. has undertaken three special projects of the 973 preliminary research subjects of the National Basic Research Program, one project of the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China during the Tenth Five-year Plan period (Program 863), a number of scientific research projects at the provincial, ministry or city level and scientific research projects of the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Foundation.
The research center has won the Second Prize of National Technological Invention for development of giant panda DNA fingerprinting probes and invention of DNA extraction methods and is the first research institution to have synthesized giant panda fingerprinting probe and invented the method to extract genome-wide DNA from pandas’ excrement and specimen.
The research center has won the Second Prize of National Technological Progress for achievement in research of twin cub-rearing of giant panda, i.e. bringing up giant panda twins for the first time in history and increasing the survival rate of giant panda cub to 67% in 1990s from 34% before 1990s.
11.2%。The research center has won the Third Prize of Sichuan Technological Progress in 2013 for achievement in research of artificial insemination technology of captive giant panda, i.e. increasing the reproduction rate of giant panda by 11.2%.
The research center has won the Third Prize of Sichuan Technological Progress in 2004 for the achievement in study of early pregnancy diagnosis of giant panda, i.e. diagnosing pre-implantation pregnancy of the giant panda and reducing the artificial insemination frequencies from 3.46 times to 1.46 times.
The research center has won the Second Prize of Sichuan Technological Progress in 2011 for achievement in Research of Diagnosis and Prevention of Rotavirus Infection of Giant Panda initiated and completed by the research personnel of the Chengdu Panda Base.