Why cloning was important?
Zoologists say a ferret named Elizabeth Ann is in good health. Her fur is out and she is wandering comfortably at the National Black-footage Ferret Conservation Center (NBFCC) in Colorado’s car. If Elizabeth later produces children, it will play an important role in increasing and maintaining genetic diversity. In fact, all the black-footed ferrets present today are born from only 7 females, due to which the genetic diversity in this species has reduced drastically.
What will be the benefit?
According to the American Fish and Wildlife Service, the limited genetic diversity makes it difficult to restore a species completely. The low diversity increases the species’ potential for diseases, genetic problems, limited ability to adapt to the surrounding world, and reduced fertility rates. The female, Villa, from whom Elizabeth has been cloned is different from the seven creatures. Therefore, the gene pool will improve upon breeding. Genetic testing showed that Vile’s genome had more diversity than the living population.
The female died in 1988
In 2018, the Wildlife Service first approved the genetic use of Revive and Rescue to save and return endangered organisms to a non-profit organization called Revive and Rescue. Genetic material of the villa was transferred to the eggs of a domesticated female ferret for cloning. Villa’s genetic material was frozen in 1988. The embryos produced from this were transferred to surrogate ferrets.
Dolly was cloned in the same way
A similar process was adopted decades ago to make Dolly sheep. The surrogate was of the same species there. However, a second species was used here to avoid endangering the endangered black-footed ferret female. Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive and Rescue, says that now seeing Elizabeth raises hopes of preserving her and all the species that are facing the crisis. At present, there are 400 to 500 ferrets in the world but now their population is increasing due to the contribution of zoos, wildlife organizations and tribals.