Meet black footed ferret Elizabeth Ann, the first cloned endangered species in North America

Credit: USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
Credit: USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Elizabeth Ann had just turned 21 days old — surely a milestone for any ferret but a particularly meaningful one for Elizabeth Ann, the first of any native, endangered animal species in North America to be cloned.

Her successful cloning is the culmination of a yearslong collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Revive & Restore, the for-profit company ViaGen Pets & Equine, San Diego Zoo Global and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Cloned siblings are on the way, and potential (cloned) mates are already being lined up. If successful, the project could bring needed genetic diversity to the endangered species. And it marks another promising advance in the wider effort to use cloning to retrieve an ever-growing number of species from the brink of extinction.

ADVERTISEMENT

The black-footed ferret, the first species to be reintroduced to former habitats with the help of artificial insemination, has long been a model species for new conservation technologies. So it is fitting that the ferrets have become the second species to be cloned for this type of genetic rescue. 

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

“Pinch me,” joked Oliver Ryder, the director of conservation genetics at San Diego Zoo Global, over a Zoom call. “The cells of this animal banked in 1988 have become an animal.”

Read the original post

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Related article:  Intriguing links between blood types and COVID-19 outcomes
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ...
seralinistud

Gilles-Éric Séralini: Activist professor and face of anti-GMO industry

The French biologist and his research team--funded by the Rodale ...
vandana shiva

Vandana Shiva: ‘Rock Star’ of GMO protest movement has anti-science history

In a 2012 interview, Bill Moyers referred to Vandana Shiva as ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend