SAVE OUR SPECIES

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

1 THE FROZEN ZOO

At San Diego Zoo In­sti­tute for Con­ser­va­tion Re­search, sci­en­tists have cre­ated a ‘frozen zoo’ of cells and em­bryos from en­dan­gered and ex­tinct species. As the largest, most di­verse col­lec­tion of its kind, the ini­tia­tive seeks to pre­serve the world’s biodiversity in cel­lu­lar form, and pro­vide ma­te­rial for re­search and con­ser­va­tion projects. At­tempts to res­cue the north­ern white rhino, of which there are just three left, fo­cus on sperm sam­ples stored at the zoo.

2 GE­NETIC MOD­I­FI­CA­TION

The en­dan­gered black-footed fer­ret could be­come the first wild an­i­mal to have its DNA de­lib­er­ately al­tered. The species suf­fers from in­breed­ing and syl­vatic plague, which threaten its ex­is­tence. Sci­en­tists from Re­vive & Re­store, a US non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion pi­o­neer­ing the use of ge­net­ics in con­ser­va­tion, want to edit its genome to make it dis­ease-re­sis­tant, and clone fer­rets from the cells of dead in­di­vid­u­als to re­store ge­netic di­ver­sity.

3 GENOME LI­BRARIES

The kkp is a flight­less par­rot en­demic to New Zealand. Dec­i­mated by in­va­sive species, the 151 birds alive to­day are the fo­cus of a con­ser­va­tion pro­gramme. They live on preda­tor-free is­lands, where they are mon­i­tored and breed­ing is man­aged. Some birds are ar­ti­fi­cially in­sem­i­nated, and chicks are some­times fos­tered by ex­pe­ri­enced kkp moth­ers. The genome of ev­ery liv­ing kkp is be­ing de­coded in an ef­fort to guide fu­ture con­ser­va­tion.

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