Bringing Zoo Animals Back To Life

Photo: Male and female drill

Photo: Male and female drill

The San Diego zoo and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California have joined together to conduct research on reproducing rare animals.  The frozen stems cells, in theory, will allow a basis to create sperm and eggs in order to create a reproduction. Paul Aldhous of New Science magazine goes into detail:

“At the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in San Francisco last week, Inbar Friedrich Ben-Nun and Jeanne Loring of Scripps described how they have created induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from the frozen skin cells of a deceased male drill (Madrillus Ieucophaeus) an endangered monkey found in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.

The team’s long-term goal is to coax iPS cells into becoming sperm and eggs. They will be making iPS cells from tissue held by San Diego zoo’s Frozen Zoo project – which has samples from some 8400 individuals representing more than 800 species. The sperm and eggs could be used in IVF treatments to add genetic diversity to captive breeding programmes. “You could actually breed from animals that are dead,” says Loring.

To create the iPS cells, the team used viruses engineered to carry four human genes that can reprogram adult cells into an embryonic stem cell state.  However, the trick failed to work with cells from the northern white rhinoceros. Loring says it may be necessary to use rhino versions of the genes.

Another problem is that the reprogramming genes can make the iPS cells cancerous, though other researchers have developed techniques to make iPS cells without leaving copies of the genes behind.

This sort of reproductive experimentation has a Jurassic Park kind of mentality.

6 Comments on "Bringing Zoo Animals Back To Life"

  1. Cerebralcaustic | Jul 2, 2010 at 9:05 am |

    I saw this movie.

    Brendan Gleeson goes crazy!

  2. Cerebralcaustic | Jul 2, 2010 at 10:05 am |

    I saw this movie.

    Brendan Gleeson goes crazy!

  3. This sounds completely unnatural. How about taking care and treating animals and wildlife better before they're all gone.

  4. Hadrian999 | Jul 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm |

    get right on that, i've always wondered what a bronto burger would taste like

  5. We need more reptiles in our diet.

Comments are closed.