Bid to preserve wild ginger found only in Singapore

Tiny population size may lead to inbreeding, trigger harmful genes

Researchers believe fewer than 50 individual specimens of the Singapore ginger are left in the wild. The plant has smooth stems and glossy narrow leaves, and its flowers are protected by inflated orange-red bracts, giving them a bumpy appearance.
Researchers believe fewer than 50 individual specimens of the Singapore ginger are left in the wild. The plant has smooth stems and glossy narrow leaves, and its flowers are protected by inflated orange-red bracts, giving them a bumpy appearance.PHOTOS: JANA LEONG-SKORNICKOVA

Efforts are under way to preserve a species of ginger found only in Singapore after researchers discovered that its tiny population size is likely to lead to inbreeding and the activation of harmful genes in later generations.

The alarm was sounded by a team from the National Parks Board (NParks) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), which published the discovery in a scientific paper in March.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2018, with the headline 'Bid to preserve wild ginger found only in S'pore '. Print Edition | Subscribe