Endangered animal species may be cloned

 

Endangered animals in Brazil may be cloned to help ensure their survival, if plans by Brazilian genetic researchers go ahead.

Scientists at the Brazilian agricultural research agency Embrapa, who cloned a cow in 2001, are now turning their attention to the country's threatened wildlife.

In partnership with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, they have gathered tissue samples from eight endangered species with a view to possible cloning.

The goal was not to release cloned animals back into the wild, but to supplement zoo stocks. Conservationists have not been generally enthusiastic about the use of cloning of endangered species as a conservation tool.

A potential drawback is that it removes the genetic variability that is useful in helping animals survive in the wild.

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