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: Helping farmers meet the increasing demand for goat's milk

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

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Apr 17, 2014

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...