Scientists clone first endangered species in United States

CHEYENNE, Wyo. Scientists have cloned the first endangered species in the United States, a duplicate black-footed ferret from the genes of an animal that died over 30 years ago.

The slinky predator named Elizabeth Ann, born on December 10 and announced on Thursday, is cute as a button. But beware: unlike the domestic ferret foster mother who brought her into the world, she has a wild heart.

“You may have handled a black-footed ferret kit and then they tried to take your finger off the next day,” US Fish and Wildlife Service black-footed ferret recovery coordinator Pete Gober said Thursday. “He’s holding his.”

Elizabeth Ann was born and raised on a Fish and Wildlife Service black-footed ferret farm in Fort Collins, Colorado. It 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.

Cloning could eventually revive extinct species like the carrier pigeon. For now, the technique holds promise for helping endangered species including a Mongolian wild horse that was cloned and born last summer in a Texas facility.

“Biotechnology and genomic data can really make a difference on …

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