Pyrenean Ibex Timeline: Extinction in 2000. Resurrected in 2009. Extinction Again in 2009.

spanish ibex photo

Cloned Pyrenean Ibex Dies Shortly After Birth
The Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is one of the two subspecies of Spanish Ibex that became extinct. The last known surviving animal was found dead in 2000 in Northern Spain, but scientists kept some DNA samples. Recently, this DNA was inserted into the egg of a domestic goat, later giving birth to a little Pyrenean ibex clone... that sadly died 7 minutes later because of lung defects.From the Telegraph:

Using techniques similar to those used to clone Dolly the sheep, known as nuclear transfer, the researchers were able to transplant DNA from the tissue into eggs taken from domestic goats to create 439 embryos, of which 57 were implanted into surrogate females.

Just seven of the embryos resulted in pregnancies and only one of the goats finally gave birth to a female bucardo, which died a seven minutes later due to breathing difficulties, perhaps due to flaws in the DNA used to create the clone.

Despite the highly inefficient cloning process and death of the cloned bucardo, many scientists believe similar approaches may be the only way to save critically endangered species from disappearing.

Who else is reminded of Jurassic Park?

But seriously. Trying to protect nearly-extinct species should be our first priority, but once they are gone, if we can try to bring them back, we should do it. Ecosystems are complex and it's hard to predict how one extinction will affect the whole. The challenge will be developing safe techniques to do so.

Via The Telegraph, EcoWorldly
Photo: Flickr, CC
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