Researchers in Spain to attempt to clone extinct mountain goat

Nov 25, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog
Plate 22 (Spanish Tur) from the book 'Wild oxen, sheep & goats of all lands, living and extinct' (1898) by Richard Lydekker. From a sketch by Joseph Wolf in the possession of Lady Brooke. The ram in the foreground was killed in the Val d'Arras. Credit: Joseph Wolf / Wikipedia

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers in Spain, with the Centre for Research and Food Technology of Aragon, has signed an agreement with the Aragon Hunting Federation (which they announced to the press) to begin testing the possibility of cloning a mountain goat that went extinct back in 2000.

The bucardo (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) was a sub-species of mountain ibex that lived in the Pyrenees—its numbers had been dwindling for years due to a number of factors, including a changing environment and hunting by humans. The last known survivor was a named Celia—she was killed by a tree falling on her—but not before researchers took tissue samples and froze them in liquid nitrogen. The hope was that as technology improved, eventually, cells from the samples could be used to clone new goats and thus resurrect the species.

The first attempt to clone a new burcardo was tried in 2003, but failed. Just one goat survived to term and it died of lung complications just after birth. In this new effort, the researchers plan to try to clone several of the goats, and if successful, to consider reestablishing the species. If successful it would be the first "de-extinction" of any organism.

In this new attempt, (to be paid for by the hunting club) the researchers will remove the nucleus of the DNA from several of the frozen tissue cells, and then insert them into embryos of a close goat relative (after its nucleus has been removed). The embryo, if viable, will then be implanted in the womb of a female goat, and hopefully carried to term.

There is a question as to whether cells that have been frozen (at -321F) for 14 years are still viable. There is also the problem of how to bring back the species if the cloning works out as planned—all of those born would female. One approach might be to mate such a female with a close ibex relative and then over successive generations, breed in burcardo traits, while breeding out the other goat traits. Another approach might be to use a bio-engineering technique that causes female embryos to grow into male offspring—a technique that has met with some success in test mice.

Explore further: Lazarus frog resurrection in Time's Top 25

More information: via BBC

Related Stories

Kashmir scientists clone rare cashmere goat

Mar 15, 2012

Scientists in Indian-controlled Kashmir have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in hopes of boosting the number of animals famed for their coats of pashmina wool, used to make cashmere.

Reverse extinction: Should we redo the dodo?

Apr 22, 2013

Woolly mammoths stomp through the Siberian tundra as the giant moa strides the forest floor of New Zealand and Tasmania's dog-like "tigers" stalk their prey under the cover of night. This is not a snapshot ...

The global gene pool of the goat seriously under threat

Jan 23, 2013

Amongst the range of domestic livestock species, the goat is not just the 'black sheep' but a resource of survival in impoverished countries, and many breeds are at great risk of disappearing. This is the ...

Lazarus frog resurrection in Time's Top 25

Nov 25, 2013

A UNSW-led team of Australian researchers who succeeded in growing cloned embryos containing the DNA of an extinct frog has been named in Time magazine's top 25 inventions for 2013.

Recommended for you

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

23 hours ago

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth ...

Plant immunity comes at a price

Nov 21, 2014

Plants are under permanent attack by a multitude of pathogens. To win the battle against fungi, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, they have developed a complex and effective immune system. And just as ...

Evolution: The genetic connivances of digits and genitals

Nov 20, 2014

During the development of mammals, the growth and organization of digits are orchestrated by Hox genes, which are activated very early in precise regions of the embryo. These "architect genes" are themselves regulated by ...

Surrogate sushi: Japan biotech for bluefin tuna

Nov 20, 2014

Of all the overfished fish in the seas, luscious, fatty bluefin tuna are among the most threatened. Marine scientist Goro Yamazaki, who is known in this seaside community as "Young Mr. Fish," is working to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.