Almost anyone can already get hold of a cloned animal. This arctic fox is the best example

Elizabeth II of England’s 18th birthday present was a corgi. Her name was Susan and, since then, all of her and each of the more than 30 dogs she had during her life were her descendants. It’s amazing to peek to the family tree of the Queen’s dogs, Yes; but what really makes you dizzy is to think that in no time it will be an even stranger historical oddity.

Let’s weigh it for a moment. starting now almost anyone can make their own animal clone and it is enough to imagine in the 30 “Susans” that the Queen could have had to realize that this will have consequences.

A beagle, some fur and a lab. That’s what it took Sinogene Biotechnology, a Chinese biotech company specializing in cloning pets, to create the first cloned instance arctic wolf. She was born in Beijing on June 10 and her name is Maya. Technologically, it’s nothing too innovative: they extracted DNA from a skin sample of an arctic wolf and inserted it into a denucleated egg. They then used a beagle as a “surrogate mother.”

Although the company’s efforts to “sell” that it is a great effort to recover endangered species, the truth is that the arctic wolf is not. What happens is that, beyond marketing, there is something relevant to the world of species recovery: the fact that it is becoming easier to clone living beings.

All that we have improved. When on February 8, 1996, investigators from the roslin institute they were successful At the “conception” of what would become the ‘6LL3’ embryo, no one had any idea that it would become the world’s most famous sheep. Neither idea nor much hope: it took 277 attempts to obtain 29 embryos of which only one prospered: Dolly.

That is to say: despite the fact that we had doing experiments since the 1950s, cloning was an insanely complicated process. 25 years later, it’s just how “easy”, “cheap” and accurate it is that’s insane. And as a way to prove it… this cloned arctic fox is a wonderful example.

We are very close to achieving it. In recent years we have indeed seen endangered species cloned: the most famous have been the american footed polecat Y mongolian wild horse; but, without a doubt, my favorite project is the one that tries retrieve the passenger pigeon; a bird that has gone from 3,000 million copies to being extinct in less than a hundred years.

Will we soon see recovered species? There doesn’t seem to be many technical impediments, the truth. Above all, if we talk about species of near disappearance; species whose genetic material is at hand. If we talk about dinosaurs or animals like that, things get complicated (and a lot).

However, the real obstacle is another: that a species is much more than a handful of cells with a specific DNA, it is also a complete ecosystem. Recovering species without recovering (without finding equivalent environments, without ensuring a decent life for them) is not only an exercise in technological egocentrismis also a very unrefined form of cruelty.

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Almost anyone can already get hold of a cloned animal. This arctic fox is the best example

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