Which animals represent the best bets for cloning
and which ones are't such hot prospects? A British journalist did
some digging and came up with this report card on the candidates:
|| Cloning potential
Fewer than a thousand remain in their shrinking natural
habitat in south west China, with one hundred in zoos. They
have sex rarely, dislike breeding in captivity, and are
Chinese scientists have produced cloned panda embryos
by inserting a panda cell nucleus into a rabbit egg. US
scientists hope to use black bear eggs and surrogate mothers.
| Tasmanian tiger
The last known representative of this striped, wolf-like
marsupial species died in a zoo in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia)
Were it not for the huge effort to bring it back. The New
South Wales government has given the Australian Museum in
Sydney $1M to do it. But the DNA available for cloning is
134 years old and in bad condition.
| Barbary lion
Thought to be the species which devoured Christians in
the Roman circus, the last Barbary lion in its natural habitat,
north Africa, was killed in Morocco in 1922, but it is thought
some may live on in Middle Eastern zoos.
But only if a survivor can be found, or genes can be recovered
Extinct 4,000 years
The existence of this furry elephant is known only from
bones, tusks, frozen remains in Siberia, and cave drawings.
Scientists hope to get a crack at injecting an elephant
egg with DNA from a frozen mammoth cell, but the DNA is
likely to be damaged by its time in the permafrost.