Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – BRAZIL: Clones Could Save Endangered Species

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 22 2012 (IPS) - The Brazilian government's agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA, has begun to work on cloning animals in danger of extinction. The first phase of the project was the creation of a bank containing 420 cell samples with the germoplasm of endangered species, in order to preserve their genetic material. Among the first samples gathered was one from the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus), a primate species endemic to Brazil that is in critical danger of extinction.

For the second phase, which will involve the study of cloning techniques, EMBRAPA has renewed a partnership with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, which will collect the eggs of animals in captivity to study them and will purchase the necessary equipment.

“We have no scheduled time for when the first cloning will take place. It could be a maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), another endangered animal. One of the techniques being considered is similar to the one used to create Dolly the sheep, who was cloned from adult cells,” EMBRAPA researcher Carlos Frederico Martins told Tierramérica.

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