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14 Nov 2012: Brazilian Scientists Investigate
Cloning of Eight Endangered Species

Scientists in Brazil are taking steps toward cloning the jaguar and seven other endangered species, a program they hope will ease pressure on wild populations of the animals. Embrapa, the country’s agricultural research agency, working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, has already collected 420 tissue samples from animals — including maned wolves, black lion tamarins, bush dogs, coatis, collared anteaters, gray broket deer, and bison — that live in the Cerrado, Brazil’s tropical savanna. They are now seeking government permission to conduct cloning experiments. According to Embrapa’s Carlos Frederico Martins, the group is not looking at the cloning as a conservation strategy and does not intend to release the animals into the wild. “The cloning is specifically for zoos,” he told the Guardian. “The idea is to test cloning technology so the zoo has its own repository of animals, which will avoid the need to take species from their natural habitat.” Some conservation groups have expressed support for the project, saying it makes sense to preserve valuable DNA information before it is lost forever, but cautioned that preserving species and their natural habitat should be the first priority.

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