Scientists have cloned their first endangered species in the United States, the black-footed ferret – a species believed extinct until a single colony was found nearly 40 years ago in Wyoming.
A female given the name Elizabeth Ann was born Dec 10th in a Colorado facility, but the birth wasn’t released until last week.
Elizabeth Ann is a genetic copy of a ferret named Willa who died in 1988 and whose remains were frozen in the early days of DNA technology.
The cloning technique holds promise for increasing the populations of endangered species.
Viagen, a company that clones horses and pet dogs and cats, cloned the black-footed ferret and a Mongolian wild horse born at a Texas facility last summer.
The black-footed ferret has been reintroduced into the wild multiple times in the last nearly 30 years in locations that include Wind Cave National Park and the Conata Basin south of Badlands National Park.