Genetic engineering in the modern world allowshope for the restoration of seemingly lost species of flora and fauna. Scientists around the world are constantly working on a method to clone extinct or endangered animals and endangered plants. Using a database of genetic samples stored in the San Diego Zoo Global laboratory, American scientists have managed to clone a black-footed ferret. To create a clone, biological material was used from an animal named Willie that died in 1988. His remains were frozen at the dawn of DNA technology.
Willie the ferret was one of the last representativesblack-footed ferrets, which were a variety of weasel, easily recognizable by the characteristic dark markings around the eyes, resembling a robber's mask. Black-footed ferrets feed exclusively on prairie dogs, which were shot and poisoned overnight by cattle ranchers, which in turn influenced the extinction of ferrets.
Scientists managed to save several ferrets.At a Fish and Wildlife Service farm in Fort Collins, Colorado, enthusiasts were able to bring the number to 1,000, which were then released in the western United States, Canada and Mexico. However, they were all descendants of only seven individuals, and the lack of genetic diversity created certain risks for the survival of animals.
A cloned animal named ElizabethAnn will expand the ability of scientists to breed black-footed ferrets and assess the potential of bioengineering to restore other animal species. When Elizabeth Ann was cloned, a tamed domesticated ferret was involved, but the genes of Willie, who died 33 years ago, showed themselves and the young ferret showed all the aggressive habits of a wild animal.