RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian researchers are turning to cloning to help fight the perilous decline of several animal species.
The scientists at Brazil’s Embrapa agriculture research agency said this week they have spent two years building a gene library with hundreds of samples from eight native species, including the collared anteater, the bush dog, the black lion tamarin, the coati, and deer and bison varieties, as well as the jaguar and the maned wolf.
While still in its early stages, with the birth of a clone likely years away, the project represents Brazilian scientists’ first foray into the cloning of wild animals, said team leader Carlos Frederico Martins.
Scientists in other parts of the world have been cloning threatened species for more than a decade, though with a low rate of success, and sometimes with the criticism of conservationists who say more should instead be done to save endangered animals in the wild by protecting their natural habitats.
Martins said that any clones that eventually emerge from the Brazilian project would go to zoos, not into the wild.