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Animal Cloning

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by ThylacineAlive, 28 Dec 2012.

  1. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    What do you all think about when it comes to the topic of animal cloning? Do you think it's worth the money and time to further the research on it? Do you think it should be done only on Extinct animals, only endangered animals, or both? Do you think cloned animals could be a valuable resource breeding and conservation wise?

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  2. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Right now, it is probably not worth the money. However, in a decade, I have a feeling that the technology will be vastly improved and vastly superior. As it is, the only animals that even have a chance of being cloned are those that are close (I'm thinking same genus) to the domestic animals where cloning has been proven effective (again, I'm thinking Bos, Equus, Canis, Ovis, etc.). Were the technique to become more viable, I think it will be a valuable resource, especially if we can utilize DNA from museum specimens.

    For you Thylo, I cannot foresee your favorite animal ever being cloned. No viable DNA and no viable surrogate.
     
  3. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid you may be right in the case of the Thylacine as the only surrogate that has been suggested is the Tasmanian Devil but a devil is too small unfortunetly. Then there's still the fact you pointed out of no viable DNA just tainted or incomplete ones... So far;)

    Have you ever heard of the successful cloning of the Extinct Pyrenean Ibex in 2009. Obviously the lamb died only 7 minutes after birth but it still was the first and only successful (that I'm aware of) cloning of an Extinct species. Since it has been done before I think the Pyrenean Ibex may be the first Extinct species to be cloned back. While it may not be the second, the Woolly Mammoth may end up in there at some point. How pure it will be and what the people trying to clone it back want to do with them is another story. Cloning a species to be reintroduced is one thing but I don't think today's Arctic can support mammoths anymore so what are we to do with them? Just throw them in zoos? I'll admitt I'm fascinated and excited by the idea but I don't think it's right.

    What are your views on cloning endangered species. With animals of identical DNA I don't know how valuable they'd be conservationally.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  4. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Why not? The two largest countries in the world (Russia and Canada) have vast areas of mammoth suited land with a very low population density.
     
  5. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    True but how do you think the animals native to those areas would adapt to something twice their size (for some bigger) competing for food?

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  6. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt there is much competition. Is there much competition in Africa between elephants and hoofstock? The reality is, the mammoths will probably change the landscape in ways we cannot fully imagine, but will probably be beneficial.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    just as a point of fact, the Pyrenean ibex was a subspecies of the Spanish ibex, not a full species. And producing clones from the DNA of the female will produce only female clones. You would need DNA from a male as well to produce male clones, otherwise she would have nothing to mate with. In fact you'd need DNA from numerous individuals otherwise you're just going to end up with severe inbreeding and the population is going to die out (again).

    With regards to the Pyrenean ibex the much better option is simply to translocate animals of one of the still-extant subspecies of Spanish ibex to the former range.
     
  8. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    they survived alongside mammoths for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, I think they could manage it still.
     
  9. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    All very good points. But this could lead into less caring people (like the ones who say the panda should be driven into extinction because it cost "too much" to save them) saying something like we should let all but one subspecies of Tiger go Extinct and then just replace the Extinct ones with the surviving one and no one here on ZooChat wants that to happen.

    Of course it's one milestone to clone an Extinct species/subspecies, but it's a completely different milestone to atcually breed them as you said.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  10. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    By those parameters, the extant species which fufills the two criteria of being genetically close enough to a previously cloned species to stand a reasonable chance of success, and being sufficiently in need of a population boost, would likely be the Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis) although if it were to be re-discovered and demonstrated to be extant - a highly unlikely eventuality - the Kouprey (Bos sauveli) would be an even better candidate.


    Unfortunately, the mammoth-steppe habitat which woolly mammoths depended upon no longer exists anywhere - although there are large areas of tundra steppe still in existence, the flora and organic soil content found there is rather different.
     
  11. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Those are the two species I had in mind. Bos sauveli is so poorly known, even in museum specimens that the likelihood is very remote. I think there are fewer than 10 museum specimens in the world.
     
  12. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    If we acquire the knowledge to economically clone on scale along the way we probably would have conquered the other challenges (changing genetic diversity through engineering and the lack of potential surrogates)
     
  13. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    It's also worth mentioning that Dolly the Sheep was the only clone to survive to adulthood out of 277 attempts. Most of the embryos just didn't take.

    :p

    Hix
     
  14. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it more of an attitude that they should be allowed to become extinct not be driven to extinction which are two very different things. Just believing a fairly dead-end if 'appealing' species should be allowed to become extinct does not mean someone is 'less caring'. They might be very caring indeed and have a very important, more widely beneficial, use for the money and effort being used on eg pandas.
     
  15. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize I said driven to extinction. That's my bad, allowed to go Extinct is a much better phrase for that but my point remains the same that that kind of thinking could severely damage the ecosystem in some cases. Just imagine the effects that would happen if Bornean Pygmy Elephants went Extinct so we replaced them with Indian Elephants? Replacing one subspecies with another doesn't always solve anything.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  16. loxodontaafrica

    loxodontaafrica Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe animals should be cloned simply to raise numbers, if suitable habitat isn't available and conditions which led to their demise in the first place are still present.

    In 2003 San Diego zoo cloned a male Banteng, which was of genetic importance at the time of his death. The resulting animal has since proven to either show no interest in breeding or to be infertile all together. The aspect of reproductive repercussions as a result of cloning needs to be further explored.

    It is not appropriate to clone extinct animals when extant species could actually benefit from cloning in the long run.

    Personally I hope that cetacean cloning becomes feasible, as bottlenose dolphins (which are now numerous in captivity) could serve as surrogates for species such as the Irrawaddy dolphin which are rapidly declining.

    Time will tell I suppose.
     
  17. HyakkoShachi

    HyakkoShachi Well-Known Member

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    I think that if we where to get to the point where we could create perfect clones of long dead animals which are capable of breeding, before getting to cloning extinct species or even subspecies, we should look into bringing back animals from extinct populations of already living species. If not to reintroduce them to where they where extirpated, then to introduce new genetic stock into populations with low genetic diversity.
     
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  18. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  19. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Very cool! I agree with the previous comment that I'd rather see cloning get used first to add genetic diversity to current endangered populations than bring back extinct species.

    I admit I'm mildly concerned that perfection of cloning technology could result in some people thinking that extincting isn't a big deal because we can just "clone them back". But hopefully there will be enough people who know/care otherwise to argue against that.
     
  20. Hipporex

    Hipporex Well-Known Member

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    What do I think of cloning? *Cue Jurassic Park theme*

    In all seriousness I echo the opinions of other people on this thread (that, if cloning must be utilized, it should be used for extant endangered species which still have optimal habitat first).