Ebene News – US – Scientists clone first US endangered species

CHEYENNE, Wyo – Scientists have cloned the first endangered US species, a black-legged ferret duplicated from the genes of an animal that died over 30 years ago

Slinky predator named Elizabeth Ann who was born on December 10 and announced Thursday is cute as a button But beware – unlike the domestic ferret adoptive mother who brought her into the world, she’s mad at heart

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“You might have handled a black-footed ferret kit, and then they’re trying to pull your finger off the next day,” US Fish and Wildlife Service Black-footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator Pete Gober said declared Thursday “She is holding on”

Elizabeth Ann was born and raised in a black-footed ferret breeding facility at the Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, Colorado This is a genetic copy of a ferret named Willa who died in 1988 and whose the remains were frozen at the very beginning of DNA technology

Cloning could possibly bring back extinct species such as the homing pigeon For now, the technique shows promise in helping endangered species, including a Mongolian wild horse that was cloned and born last summer in a Texas facility

“Biotechnology and genomic data can really make a difference on the ground through conservation efforts,” said Ben Novak, senior scientist at Revive & Restore, a biotechnology-focused nonprofit that has coordinated ferret and horse cloning

Black-legged ferrets are a type of weasel easily recognized by markings in the black eyes resembling a thief’s mask Charismatic and nocturnal, they feed exclusively on prairie dogs while living amid the sometimes vast burrows of rodents

Even before cloning, blacklegged ferrets were a conservation success story They were believed to be extinct – victims of habitat loss when herders slaughtered and poisoned prairie dog colonies that made rangelands less suitable for cattle – until a ranch dog named Shep brought a dead man home to Wyoming in 1981

Scientists have rounded up the remaining population for a captive breeding program that has released thousands of ferrets to dozens of sites in the western US, Canada and Mexico since the 1990s

Lack of Genetic Diversity Prevents Ongoing Risk All ferrets reintroduced so far are the descendants of just seven closely related animals – a genetic similarity that makes today’s ferrets potentially susceptible to intestinal parasites and disease such as sylvatic plague

Willa could also have passed on her genes in the usual way, but a male born to her, Cody, “didn’t do his job” and his lineage died out, Gober said

When Willa died, the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish sent her tissues to a “frozen zoo” run by the San Diego Global Zoo that holds cells for over 1,100 species and subspecies around the world Scientists will eventually be able to modify these genes to help cloned animals survive

“With these cloning techniques, you can basically freeze time and regenerate these cells,” Gober said. “We’re a long way from tinkering with the genome to give it genetic resistance, but it’s a possibility. ‘future “

Cloning creates a new plant or animal by copying genes from an existing animal Texan company Viagen, a company that clones pet cats for $ 35,000 and dogs for $ 50,000, has cloned a Przewalski’s horse, a species of wild horse from Mongolia born last summer

Similar to the black-footed ferret, the nearly 2,000 surviving Przewalski horses are the descendants of a dozen animals

Viagen also cloned Willa through the coordination of Revive & Restore, a biotech-focused wildlife conservation organization Besides cloning, the nonprofit in Sausalito, Calif., promotes genetic research on endangered life forms ranging from starfish to jaguars

“How can we actually apply some of these scientific advances to conservation?” Because conservation needs more tools in the toolbox That’s our motivation Cloning is just one of the tools, ”said Ryan Phelan, Co-Founder and CEO of Revive & Restore

Elizabeth Ann was born to a tame domestic ferret, who avoided endangering a rare black-footed ferret. Two unrelated domestic ferrets were also born by Caesarean section; a second clone did not survive

Elizabeth Ann and future Willa clones will form a new line of black-footed ferrets that will remain in Fort Collins for study There are currently no plans to release them into the wild, Gober said

Novak, the lead scientist at Revive & Restore, calls himself the group’s “passenger pigeon” for his work to someday bring back the once common bird that has been extinct for over a century. birds is considered much more difficult than mammals because of their eggs, but the group’s plans even include trying to bring back a woolly mammoth, a creature that has been extinct for thousands of years.

The seven-year effort to clone a black-footed ferret was much less theoretical, he said, and shows how biotechnology can now help conservation In December, Novak loaded up a motorhome and drove to Fort Collins with his family to see the results firsthand.

“I absolutely had to see our beautiful clone in person,” said Novak “There is nothing more amazing than this”

Black-legged ferret, ferret, endangered species, cloning, wildlife conservation

Ebene News – United States – Scientists clone first US endangered species

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/animal-news/scientists-clone-first-u-s-endangered-species-n1258310