DENVER – Black-footed ferret recovery efforts aimed at increased genetic diversity and disease resistance took a bold step forward Dec. 10, 2020, with the birth of “Elizabeth Ann,” created from the frozen cells of “Willa,” a black-footed ferret that lived more than 30 years ago. The groundbreaking effort to explore solutions to help recover this endangered species results from an innovative partnership among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and species recovery partners and scientists at Revive & Restore, ViaGen Pets & Equine, San Diego Zoo Global, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“The Service sought the expertise of valued recovery partners to help us explore how we might overcome genetic limitations hampering recovery of the black-footed ferret, and we’re proud to make this announcement today,” said Noreen Walsh, Director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region, where the Service’s National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center is located. “Although this research is preliminary, it is the first cloning of a native endangered species in North America, and it provides a promising tool for continued efforts to conserve the black-footed ferret.”

 

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Posted by on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 in

Meesha Kaufman’s five chihuahuas are a lot alike. Their tails wag, their eyes bulge, and their bark is almost certainly bigger than their bite. They’re all named after superheroes’ secret identities— Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, and Wade Wilson. In other words, they are like any normal pampered chihuahuas. But there are ways to tell the dogs apart.

As the chihuahuas paw and nibble on each other like two-year-old pups are apt to do, it’s easy to notice that the black spotting on their white-furred bodies varies from dog to dog. Their personalities are also different, Kaufman says, pointing at each dog. “I have an angry one, a funny one, a really sweet one, and one that’s really independent.”

Read the full story in Popular Mechanics here.

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Posted by on Monday, November 30th, 2020 in

When their 12-year-old dog Marley was diagnosed with cancer, the Tschirhart family couldn’t bear to say goodbye. So, they turned to ViaGen Pets, of Austin, Texas, a company that has cloned hundreds of pets for a multitude of grateful owners. Correspondent Tracy Smith checks out what the right amount of love, science and money can bring to an animal lover.

 

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Posted by on Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 in
Cloned Cat Cedar Falls

Hello, kitty.

Mr. Tufts Jr. is the color of ink, and his fur is as soft as a cloud. Large copper eyes are filled with curiosity — and more than a little mischief. His athletic legs are spring-loaded for leaping to the top of the china cabinet, fireplace mantel, stair railing and anywhere else he shouldn’t go, but does anyway because, well, he’s a cat.

At nearly nine months old and 8 ½ pounds, his owner describes Mr. Tufts Jr. as “a holy terror,” a four-legged adolescent “little beast” who has suddenly discovered his claws “that he uses to shred toilet paper all over the house.” But of course, there’s the cuddle factor – “he’s sweet and very affectionate.”

Mr. Tufts Jr. is the spitting image of his namesake, Mr. Tufts. That’s because junior is a clone.

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Posted by on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 in

The first successfully cloned endangered Przewalski’s horse was born on Aug. 6 in a veterinary facility in Texas, San Diego Zoo Global announced on Friday. The horse was cloned from DNA of a male Przewalski’s horse cryopreserved by the zoo in 1980.

Przewalski’s horses are “critically endangered” animals that are found in Mongolia, per Smithsonian’s National Zoo. They’re considered the last species of “truly wild horses” and are “distant cousins” of modern day domestic horses, having likely split from a common ancestor around 500,000 years ago, per the Smithsonian.

Przewalski’s horses were once extinct in the wild, and while intensive breeding programs helped revive the species and reintroduce them into the grasslands of China and Mongolia, nearly all can be traced back to 12 Przewalski’s horses that were born in the wild, the San Diego Zoo said in its press release. The successful cloning of DNA collected 40 years is meant to introduce key generic diversity into the species that could benefit its survival. The zoo said the cloned Przewalski’s horse will eventually be transferred to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and integrated into a herd of other Przewalski’s horses for breeding.

Read the full article here.

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