What Are the Advantages of Cloning Endangered Species?

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According to University of Utah Health Sciences, cloning endangered species makes it possible for living animals to donate healthy cells and preserve a species. Scientists intend to use cloning to save the saola of Vietnam, the wild water buffalo and the banteng, according to the BBC. Such an assisted reproduction technique can also be utilized in the revival of already extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth.

However, some experts and conservationists don't think cloning is an effective strategy in the preservation of an animal species, as the University of Utah reports. One major obstacle is that cloned animals lack genetic diversity. A species with high genetic variety has a higher chance of including individual animals with the capacity to survive drastic environmental challenges, such as contagious diseases. Likewise, cloning doesn't solve the problems that previously put the species in danger of extinction, such as destruction of its living environment.

In 2009, scientists almost brought an extinct species back into existence. They used eggs donated by goats and cloned the bucardo, a wild mountain goat. The clone died soon after delivery. Even if their experiment had succeeded, it would still have produced only a female bucardo, because the cells providing the genetic make-up for the offspring came from a female.