Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Extinct Ibex Cloned

The Pyrenean Ibex, a Spanish mountain goat, was confirmed as extinct in 2000. Scientists had the foresight to store its DNA in skin samples, preserved in liquid nitrogen, and now there's been the news that scientists were able to clone a baby Ibex by replacing the DNA in a domestic goat egg. Unfortunately the baby died because of lung complications.

This raises the possibility (if ever so slightly), of being able to resurrect other extinct animals.
However, attempts to revive species like the woolly mammoths and the Dodo are burdened with problems. DNA decays as time passes and creates gaps in the genetic codes needed to produce clones.

Last year, scientists released an almost-complete genome of the woolly mammoth, creating gossip that it will be possible to synthesize the DNA.

Professor Robert Miller, director the Medical Research Council's Reproductive Sciences Unit at Edinburgh University, is collaborating with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland on cloning extraordinary African mammals like the white rhino.

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