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Science

Extinct Pyrenean Ibex Cloned 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the intrepid-endeavor dept.
jamie points out a story in the Telegraph about a project to clone the Pyrenean Ibex (known also as bucardo), a species that went extinct in 2000. Before the last known member of the species died, scientists took tissue samples to begin a project to clone the animal. "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. " Now, for the first time, one of them has survived the gestation period, living for seven minutes after birth. One of the researchers said, "The delivered kid was genetically identical to the bucardo. In species such as bucardo, cloning is the only possibility to avoid its complete disappearance."
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Extinct Pyrenean Ibex Cloned

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  • 7 minutes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Essequemodeia (1030028) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:35PM (#26685329)
    So.... I'm hoping the Ibex can breed within the first 3 minutes. Yes?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:42PM (#26685385)

      No, that is why they went extinct... the females wanted to much romance and mood music ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A species recently dead. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to clone the world's first extinct species. Pyrenean Ibex will be that species. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.

  • HUMANS: - (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:40PM (#26685365)
    The only species with the idiocy and shortsightedness to make a species go extinct, and the only species with the passionate pursuit knowledge to bring them back.
    • Re:HUMANS: - (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:47PM (#26685451)

      The only species with the idiocy and shortsightedness to make a species go extinct

      Ridiculous. Humans may be better at causing extinctions than other species but that isn't because other species are reluctant to do it, or consider the implications at all.

    • by Thiez (1281866)

      Well, humans and a cat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephens_Island_Wren [wikipedia.org]

    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:03PM (#26685595)

      The only species with the idiocy and shortsightedness to make a species go extinct,

      Completely utterly wrong.

      All species end up extinct. They are replaced by others which are more fit for the environment.
       

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aranykai (1053846)

        Evolve - To move in regular procession through a system.

        Extinct - No longer in existence; having died out.

        How can a regular procession equate to the cessation of existence?

        *burns karma*

        • by Anpheus (908711) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:44PM (#26685943)

          After enough adaptations and mutations, you cease to classify an animal as being in the same species as its ancestor. If these adaptations occur based on local conditions, then it isn't uncommon for the two species to coexist. No matter that they haven't evolved yet enough to invent taxes, death is still certain. And if the local adaptations make one species better globally, then you'll see competition and likely, the extinction of the ancestor's species.

          You have to remember that the definition of species is vague, that the tree of life has many branches, and that inevitably, all branches terminate. So evolution constantly produces more and more species, and even when there is no branch, a large enough change will be considered the line between one species and another.

          Evolution doesn't necessitate extinction, it's the semantics we use to describe it and the cold hard fact that you can't indefinitely sustain every species that has ever existed on Earth.

        • by mdarksbane (587589) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @02:13PM (#26686149)

          And this is the fun problem with the layman's explanation of evolution. Unless you were trying to be funny.

          The fossil record is littered with hundreds and thousands of creatures that have no direct genetic descendants. They failed, they went extinct, they lost.

          However, quite a few other ones survived to evolve into the mass of life we have today.

          Natural selection is based on extinction. The failed mutations die. Sometimes the whole failed species dies. But somewhere up the evolutionary tree, their second or third cousins twice removed were better adapted and survived.

          It is pure arrogance to think we are the only creatures who drive this process. How many herbivores were eaten by tigers? How many carnivores went extinct their prey moved on or died? How many fish died simply because their part of the world dried up? How many diseases have wiped out hundreds of acres of trees - entire species have gone locally extinct in the last hundred years. Yes, we have a huge affect, but we aren't the only thing.

          Note that I'm not saying we shouldn't try to mitigate our effects - if we destroy the environment, we'll be dealing with an entirely new mess that *we* didn't evolve for. But have some perspective.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by FiloEleven (602040)

            Natural selection is based on extinction. The failed mutations die. Sometimes the whole failed species dies. But somewhere up the evolutionary tree, their second or third cousins twice removed were better adapted and survived.

            This sounds like a lot of free-market libertarian talk to me, sir. You know we don't go for that sort of thing nowadays. Keep the failures alive, I say!

        • Because the regular procession turns the species into something different. And what it was before has died out, because its descendants aren't the same thing.

      • by borfast (752138)

        Actually, Bananatree3 is right: we are the only species that destroy our own world and lead other species to extinction.

        What you are talking about is natural selection, something that occurs naturally; what Bananatree3 was talking about is doing it on purpose, in a unnatural way.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Actually, Bananatree3 is right: we are the only species that destroy our own world and lead other species to extinction.

          That's quite misanthropic, but at the same time gives humans alot more ability that we deserve... Look into what yeast does to a fermentable alcoholic beverage and its effect on its little world. Think about naturally brewed vinegar and its implications on its little world and fellow bacteria buddies in its little world.

          Meanwhile, despite our heroic efforts, the earth still hasn't been "destroyed", barely even a flesh wound.

          Oh the angst!

        • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
          Well yes, we do destroy our own world and other species. That's how nature created us. If this way of life is not good then in time we will suffer the consequences and become extinct ourselves. Nature will go on and maybe create a new species capable of intelligence that doesn't destroy itself. Maybe that species will be able to take action when it realizes what's it doing to the environment as opposed to the humans. Or maybe humans will adapt to the new conditions and stop destroying the environment. I wis
        • So it is your stance that humans are not natural, but instead...supernatural?

      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        And how, pray tell, does a non-human species go about adapting to urban sprawl completely destroying its habitat?

        Just go on google earth for a minute, would you. zoom in on 10 random spots in the US, east of the Mississippi River. Tell me exactly how the natural world is supposed to keep evolving, business as usual, with incessant "development" of land for human use?

        • And how, pray tell, does a non-human species go about adapting to urban sprawl completely destroying its habitat?

          They evolve to be adorable, and become pets.

        • by 10Neon (932006) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @02:39PM (#26686339)
          Some of them are quite good at it. Raccoons, pigeons, rats, cockroaches, to name a few. Sure, they're not species we particularly like but it is certainly not the case that an urbanized environment is a human-only zone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bane2571 (1024309)
          And how, pray tell, does a non-human species go about adapting to urban sprawl completely destroying its habitat?

          Domestic cats,dogs,birds
          Vermin, especially rats, pigeons and cockroaches
          Food animals

          In many ways humans have become the dominant driving force behind evolution. While many many species have died out since we started worrying about it, we are also very close to spawning whole new branches of species that can survive extremely well in a world dominated by human kind. Give it a few million
      • *Humans* are the only species that actively exterminate other species on a massive scale

        Mother nature is not a "species". I was talking specifically about "species" in my original post.

        I simply stated that humans are in a unique position - we can and do actively exterminate species, and we also actively bring species back. NO other living thing on the planet has that kind of ability.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fractoid (1076465)
          No, we're not. Rats, cats and wild pigs (which admittedly got here via human transportation) are wiping out many of Australia's native animals. The conservationists cry out that we're killing the fuzzywuzzies but really, they're just being outcompeted by the first new species here for tens of thousands of years. Exactly the same thing happened when wild dogs first arrived here, now they're "native" and we call them dingos.
          • A Dichotomy (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bananatree3 (872975)

            Rats, cats and wild pigs (which admittedly got here via human transportation)

            exactly my point. It also appears [austmus.gov.au] dingo ancestors arrived by boat 3-4 thousand years ago with seafaring humans.

            Whether deliberate, through gross negligence or simply out of ignorance, humans have brought the extinction of various species whether directly or indirectly. Whether out of malice or simply out of cause an effect for an unrelated pursuit.

            I'm not trying to simply denounce humans as "virii", but to show an interesting

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        But they are frequently replaced by minor varients of themselves. We are currently running through the tree-of-life with a chainsaw and destroying entire branches (although not in this case). In terms of species loss humanity obviously has the ability to reach dinasaur-asteroid-killer proportions.

        In terms of sheer infornmation loss that should be considered a disaster. On a more selfish level it also irreversivbly closes potential sources of knowledge and utility that we don't yet know the value of. Con

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Survival of the fittest. Humans are how ever the only species likely to cause massive extinctions to an extent it would destablize the ecosystem and cause a huge host of other problems (in a worst case scenario obviously).
      • Re:HUMANS: - (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jack9 (11421) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:45PM (#26685959)

        "destabilize" is pejorative without qualification. "change" or "influence" is accurate. Perhaps that was not the point you were trying to make. Causing and preventing extinctions are inevitable, amoral events (we damn near exterminate diseases, both animal and human, without much complaint). It's interesting to see how many tree-huggers are on /. Implying that the genetic code of certain fluffy/swimmy organisms, by extension their species, are sancrosanct is disturbingly ignorant. Your Morals May Vary.

    • Re:HUMANS: - (Score:5, Interesting)

      by flyingsquid (813711) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:24PM (#26685783)
      Except the species isn't extinct. The species Capra pyrenaica is still alive, it's just that one subspecies, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica is extinct.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Yes, because there was not a single extinction before humans came along.

      Every creature that has previously still existed, none had been out competed by other species and died out.

    • There's nothing wrong with another species going extinct, except for your own misplaced sentimentality. Extinction is a natural part of the course of events in an ecosystem. The inferior species are destroyed so that new ones may emerge. The new ones then fan out, specialize, speciate, and diversity is renewed, until they too are made extinct.

    • by pwizard2 (920421)

      The only species with the idiocy and shortsightedness to make a species go extinct

      And how many species have gone extinct without a human cause? (Permian extinction event, Cretaceous event, etc?)

  • by auric_dude (610172) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:42PM (#26685387)
    Does Mark Shuttleworth know about this?
    • Of course he does, that's kinda why he started it in the first place. ;)

      The more cloning of the Ibex, the better!
  • How fast are they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:43PM (#26685401)

    -We clocked the Pyrenean Ibex at 30mph

    -(looking horrified)You cloned a Pyrenean Ibex!?

    Somehow, I don't think the Jurassic Park tag is completely accurate...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GravityStar (1209738)
      John Hammond: "Condors! Condors are on the verge of extinction. If I was to create a flock of condors on this island, you wouldn't have anything to say!"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Extiction is a natural part of life. Over time MOST species have gone extinct with very few ancestral lineages leading to the present extant species. There have been many mass extinctions in the past and there is still significant (though different from previously present) diversity. Are we perhaps a little misguided in our attempts to make this world's diversity static?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MutantEnemy (545783)
      Oh for God's sake. Just because there have been five major extinction events in the past doesn't mean we should gladly cause a sixth.
    • It's not misguided. We've evolved to survive in the PRESESNT ecosystem.

      Attempting to maintain the current state of the world is our best hope of survival as a species.

      Some of it might be misplaced. For instance I doubt a goat will ensure the survival of the human race but by and large maintaining the status quo is good for the humanity since we've been so successful in it.

      • by Rakishi (759894)

        It's not misguided. We've evolved to survive in the PRESESNT ecosystem.

        Not really, alaska and the sahara desert are very far from the same eco-system and yet we live in both without many differences. We've outpaced evolution a hundred thousand years ago and it's stop mattering to us since then.

        On the other hand, our SOCIETY and INFRASTRUCTURE has evolved based on current climates and eco-systems. It'd be costly to change those but that's about it and humans would survive without too many problems.

      • We've evolved to survive in the PRESESNT ecosystem.

        Are you sure we didn't evolve to survive in the ecosystem that existed, oh, 30,000 years ago? That wasn't too different than now, other than the mile thick glaciers over Europe and North America.

        Or how about the one that existed 300,000 years ago? That wasn't too unlike the current one. Except for the glaciers, of course.

        Or even the one that existed 3,000,000 years ago? That was, well, a hothouse. Pretty much like we expect to see by the end of the c

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:44PM (#26685421) Homepage
    Arrg. Mr. Pedantic here this AM. But this really isn't cloning [suite101.com]. You still have the host egg's mitochondrial DNA (and various bits of other important things). And of course the obligate "now we can clone dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. A pox on Steven Spielberg.

    If his noodliness had intended mankind to clone things, he would have just left us at the amoeba stage.
    • by khallow (566160) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:20PM (#26685753)

      Huh, do you actually read the articles you link to?

      Reproductive cloning

      Reproductive cloning is used to create an animal that has the same DNA as another animal. The famous Dolly the sheep was the first animal created by reproductive cloning. The scientists, using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, transfer genetic material taken from an adult cell nucleus to an egg whose nucleus has been removed. The egg, now containing the adult donor genetic material is then treated with chemicals or an electric current to trigger cell division. When the cloned embryo reaches a certain stage, it is transplanted to the uterus of a female of the same species where the pregnancy continues hopefully as normal.

      Dolly and other animals created using nuclear transfer technology are not true identical clones. Only the clone's chromosomal DNA is the same as the donor's DNA. There is also genetic material in the mitochondria, which reside in the cytoplasm of the egg cell that had its nucleus removed. The mitochondrial DNA is also replicated as the cell divides and this mitochondrial DNA will be from the animal that donated the egg cell and not from the donor animal.

      Sure, I see the "not true identical clones" in there. I also see that they call it "cloning". The adjective doesn't change that it is cloning. Claiming that it's not a clone? Basing that on a few minute changes in mitochrondial DNA? That's just wrong not pedantic. After all, there'll be transcription errors in the clone anyway. The mitochondrial changes are in my view of that order.

      • Claiming that it's not a clone? Basing that on a few minute changes in mitochrondial DNA? That's just wrong not pedantic.

        Yep, it's semantic. The term "Reproductive Cloning" appears to be a way of getting around the problem that we ignore "a few minute changes in mitochondria". Those "minute" changes are important. Since mitochondrial DNA appears in the metazoan egg appears to cause important changes in the end product (too lazy to give you a link, the wikipedia article is a pretty good start) I think

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wvmarle (1070040)

        The mitochondrial DNA used to create the new egg and with that the "clone" is from a different, albeit related species. So the end-result I think is actually yet another species. Mitochondrial DNA has serious influence on the outcome. Maybe that is even what caused the death of the baby immediately after birth. Too much of a DNA mismatch.

  • The obvious problem here is that even if you could easily and reliably produce clones (and introduce enough genetic variation to ensure long-term viability), the same factors that doomed the species originally will probably make it impossible to reintroduce the clones into the wild. So while this advance may be suitable for producing zoo specimens, it's a far cry from restoring an extinct species to its natural state.
    • by ronmon (95471)
      They probably died off because we destroyed their environment. So unless we can clone that, this is just a pointless "gee whiz" exercise.
  • by Splab (574204) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:46PM (#26685433)

    city living boy, but when did goats start laying eggs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      city living boy, but when did goats start laying eggs?

      Well, there were some gaps in the DNA sequence, so we filled them in with chicken DNA.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The kind of eggs you find in ovaries, not the kind you'd put in an omelet. Geez.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        oh shit! *runs to kitchen*
    • by syousef (465911)

      city living boy, but when did goats start laying eggs?

      Cloning techniques aren't pefect yet. Soon we'll have egg laying goats withfour asses [weeklyscript.com]

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:46PM (#26685437) Homepage Journal

    Wait a second. So these things went extinct just 10 years ago. Wouldn't it have been a lot easier (and cheaper) to, um, keep some of them alive instead of waiting until they died off? So if they do clone them and they live, how are they supposed to survive now when they couldn't survive just a decade ago?

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by RockMFR (1022315) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:18PM (#26685737)
      Quiet liberal. Cloning is the manly, patriotic way of doing things. I bet you're one of the types who thinks we should worry about global warming before the ice caps melt, huh?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      > Wait a second. So these things went extinct just 10 years ago. Wouldn't it have been a
      > lot easier (and cheaper) to, um, keep some of them alive instead of waiting until they
      > died off?

      So why didn't you do it?

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:10PM (#26687041)

      Problem is wild animals can't really be reasoned with.

      Just because Cows are exhibitionist sex aholics doesn't mean ever species will breed in captivity.

      An ibex doesn't care if it's about to go extinct, it's going to be just as easy to breed in captivity if there are a million left or two.

      Even some humans swear "if we were the last two people on earth they still wouldn't sleep with you"--Errr "them"! I meant to say "They wouldn't sleep with them"!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by danlip (737336)

      Wait a second. So these things went extinct just 10 years ago. Wouldn't it have been a lot easier (and cheaper) to, um, keep some of them alive instead of waiting until they died off? So if they do clone them and they live, how are they supposed to survive now when they couldn't survive just a decade ago?

      It's pretty expensive to try to keep a breeding population of every endangered species alive in captivity (we kill off a huge number every year), and some animals don't breed well in captivity. If they are in the wild you have much less control (it doesn't sound like they had any of these in captivity, according to wiki). And the last one died 9 years ago but the last potential mate may have died much longer ago than that.

      "how are they supposed to survive now" is a good question, but I don't think this ef

  • by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:57PM (#26685539)

    There was an article along these lines in New Scientist a couple of week ago, looking at the availability of DNA and the availability of modern host species. Some are fairly good, like tasmanian tigers, which have lots of tissue samples available and a good candidate for a host, the anything-but-extinct tasmanian devil. Marsupials also have very short gestation, with the embryo completing its development in the mother's pouch.

    Other are farther out, like the dodo (no good DNA samples), the woolly rhinoceros (lots of DNA, the modern host is itself seriously endangered), and so on. One extinct species of armadillo would be the size of a VW Beetle. Even if you had DNA, no modern armadillo or related creature is anywhere nearly big enough.

    ...laura

  • Yeah ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Arkcon (1364679)

    Historically, that is how we've judged the success of cloning, or genetically manipulated animals. A lot has to happen after fertilization -- blastulation, gastrulation, then further development, any one of those can be considered a success. Early cloning experiments with the common frog (Rana pippens) were considered successful because the made it to the gasturla stage, another frog species formed viable embryos, but not frogs, and was still a success. Dolly surviving well into adulthood was a fluke, an

  • Inbred sheep (Score:5, Informative)

    by VernorVinge (1420843) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:16PM (#26685717)
    There is no way cloning a single animal can be a viable method to reintroduce a species. The inbreeding necessary to maintain the line will eventually destroy its genetic health. Wild populations generally require 50 different animals in order to maintain the species' genetic viability. I would submit that in controlled laboratory environment, 32 specimens or 16 pairs would be the minimul viable population. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Minimum_viable_population_size/ [eoearth.org]
    • Re:Inbred sheep (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PieSquared (867490) <isosceles2006@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @02:00PM (#26686045)

      Wrong. The only reason inbreeding causes genetic issues is because recessive traits become far more likely to crop up twice then in the general population. If you pick an individual who doesn't have any negative recessive genetic traits, there's no problem... *or* if you genetically tweak the DNA before you go about the procedure to remove those genetic traits you don't want to show up.

      Of course the genetic manipulation required to do this on an animal who's species is already extinct is extremely difficult if not impossible with modern techniques... but so is producing a truly viable clone of an extinct species in the first place (one that lives a full life, not 7 minutes, or even the half-life we found cloned sheep got).

  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:44PM (#26685937)

    What's the point of reviving this species of Ibex, unless we also remove the conditions that caused it to go extinct in the first place? I'm guessing that condition is known by the name Homo sapiens?

    It's guilt and sentimentalism driving this behavior, not pragmatism. Does anyone recall the movie "Silent Running"? We're continuing to motor headlong toward that consequence and not making the pragmatic changes necessary to avert it.

    To hell with fighting global warming or terrorism: we need to be reversing human overpopulation, NOW, before Mother Nature finally finds a way to do it for us. Cloning a few members of this Ibex species is a waste of effort when the PROBLEM still exists and is GROWING. Are we going to put these Ibex in a space ark and fly them out to Jupiter?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @02:18PM (#26686193)

      Let's start by killing you off first.

      • by macraig (621737)

        Haven't you heard? You're not supposed to shoot the messenger.

        • You're right. We should feed him to the newly cloned Ibex. To address the original poster's point more clearly, I don't think anybody is doing this with the goal of repopulating the species, although they may claim it for funding purposes. They're really just trying to push the cloning envelope, and a recently-extinct goat is a perfectly good excuse to experiment.
          • by macraig (621737)

            Using bits of the ONLY remaining tissue of an extinct species doesn't sound like a particularly good way of simply pushing the cloning envelope: they could do that with tissue from any old LIVING species, couldn't they? I don't think your apology works; their goal is much more ambitious or they wouldn't squander that tissue. I stand by my original remarks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by justinlee37 (993373)
        Reducing the population != killing people. All you have to do is reduce the birth rate. VHEMT.org
  • Just some mindless rambling...

    The cloned animal, which was genetically identical to the original, had deformed lungs. This particular problem apparently presents in other cloning processes. Can we conclude that either the process is flawed or the DNA collected is damaged?

    Not to say that we cannot get there eventually using recently acquired DNA. I notice other issues of concern. In particular that DNA degrades over time, even when frozen. That would mean that simply collecting and storing DNA is not en

  • A few thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:54PM (#26686009)

    For starters, I'm suprised with all the talk about cloning Mammoths and such no one thought to start with something simpler like the Yangtze river dolphin that went extinct just last year. Certainly there's no problem getting DNA samples for that. It's nice then to see there are scientific groups starting with something a little more realistic before considering moving on to the longer extinct species.

    But here's my concern, it's not that getting DNA is the issue as such, the problem is getting enough DNA that's genetically diverse enough to maintain a healthy population. If we manage to get the DNA of a mammoth and bring it back then great, that's fine but what then? I'm not convinced we can get DNA from a diverse enough selection of a species to maintain a healthy population. Mammoths aside, do we likely have diverse enough set of DNA from the Yangtze river dolphin, our most recent loss, let alone from this Ibex which died out 8 or 9 years ago?

    If we're serious about cloning as a technique to bring back extinct species, then the reality is we need to be archiving DNA from thousands of members of each endangered species now. A lack of diversity in a species brought back by cloning is simply going to lead to their extinction again.

    This is a problem that's already affecting some of the flora that is close to extinction. We have in recent years lost (or very likely lost) species of flora from the wild but yet have them en-masse in cultivation. Perhaps a good example is Echnocactus grusonii, otherwise known as the golden barrel cactus which almost everyone will have seen as they can be purchased in nearly every garden centre worldwide. It's somewhat of a success story that the plant (which is pretty impressive) will be available for future generations to see, but it's also rather a problem in that most of them out there all stem from a single plant. As one plant can provide millions of seeds most nurseries will just take those seeds and plant them en-masse (usually in Spanish fields in Europe, but using similar methods in the southern US and China). Each seed will have some genetic diversity if cross-pollination occured between two separate plans but this by itself isn't enough.

    To provide an example, anyone who has been to Arizona or lives there will know that it's a pretty diverse state in terms of climate and one of it's most picturesque plants the Saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea) grows across large parts of the state, ranging from some of the lower lying areas, through to some of the high er lying areas, now the problem is that those living in the hottest parts of the state, such as down by Tucson wont see temperatures anywhere near as low as those at higher, colder areas. Furthermore, some populations will be prone to suffering snow sometimes, and getting a lot more went and damp than others due to increased humidity in some areas and this is the crux of the problem. We could not take seeds from a population that has grown in the desert regions for thousands of years and plant them in the colder, wetter regions and expect them to survive as a population, therefore if a species like this were to go extinct and we only had viable seed from a specific region it is possible that they would be limited to that region, it would take thousands and thousands years for natural selection to select those hardy enough to move from that region back to the areas they previously inhabited, but during that time the reintroduced population is at risk due to the much smaller areas they'd occupy. Currently, many species are critically endangered for exactly this reason, they may grow in areas no bigger than a small village, and those areas are all too often at risk- a current example is Arrojadoa marylanae which exists only a small quartz hill range in Brazil that is currently targetted for mining of the quartz, destruction of this small area will lead to extinction of at least one, maybe multiple species of flora from our planet, and it currently doesn't seem to be that we have enough samples of this held sa

  • why on earth is this tagged ubuntu, it has nothing in common with it other than the coincidence of the name
  • Why don't they cook up something new and cool, like maybe a six legged animal with a corporate logo right in the fur pattern.

    And make it low fat, but tasty.
  • D: (Score:5, Funny)

    by onionlee (836083) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @03:31PM (#26686701)
    Assholes made the Ibex extinct... again.
  • by shogun (657) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @04:19PM (#26687107)

    ".... a subspecies of the Spanish ibex that live in mountain ranges across the country, in liquid nitrogen."

    They should be cross-breeding them till they come up with one that lives in liquid helium instead...

  • Won't somebody please think of the kids!

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.

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