Cloned wildcats can also breed
Three cloned African wildcats have produced two healthy litters of kittens, demonstrating that clones of wild animals can breed.india Updated: Aug 23, 2005 13:41 IST
And then there were eight...
In what is seen here as another breakthrough for bio-engineering, three cloned African wildcats living in the United States have produced two healthy litters of kittens, demonstrating for the first time that clones of wild animals can breed.
The successful experiment, unveiled by the Audubon Centre for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, Louisiana, over the weekend, appeared to open the way to bringing severely endangered species back from the brink of extinction, scientists said.
But it also raised the question if Jurassic Park, a fictional nature preserve teaming with cloned dinosaurs and velociraptors invented by popular novelist Michael Crichton and popularised in a blockbuster 1993 movie, was getting closer to becoming a reality.
"The science which produced these beautiful kittens is nothing short of wondrous," commented Ron Forman, president and chief executive of the Audubon Nature Institute. "We are thrilled to play a part in a scientific journey holding such enormous potential for the world's animals."
The frisky eight, who sport light brown fur, stripes on the back, perked-up ears, and innocent green-blue eyes, were produced by a feline menage a trois that included Ditteaux, the lucky father, and his two female mates - Madge and Caty.
The threesome are all clones, who owe their very existence to transfers of frozen embryos taken from two other African wildcats to a domestic cat.