According to an IPS report, Brazilian scientists have begun a project which will include the cloning of endangered species. The project will be carried out through the combined efforts of the Brasilia Zoological Garden and EMBRAPA.
While the genetic material being used in this study comes from wild animals, the researchers have no intention of releasing cloned animals into the wild.
“The zoo wants to increase the number of specimens for its own use. The idea is to keep these animals in captivity. The use of clones would prevent the impact caused by the removal of these animals from their natural setting,” said Carlos Fredrico Martins, EMBRAPA researcher, to Tierramerica.
Jaguars, maned wolves, and the black lion tamarian are among the first animals which will be cloned (the full list has not yet been made available).
EMBRAPA, the Brazilian government’s research agency, has successfully cloned animals in the past. In 2001, EMBRAPA efforts lead to the birth of cloned cow. Since then, EMBRAPA has gone on to clone horses and more cows.
Like all cloning projects, this move by EMBRAPA has met with opposition. In fact, a bill that has been under consideration in the Brazilian senate that would restrict EMBRAPA’s cloning efforts for over five years.
Image courtesy Stavenn on Wikimedia Commons