In reality? Probably not. It's extremely unlikely that dinosaur DNA could survive undamaged for such a long time. However, scientists have been working to clone species that became extinct more recently, using DNA from well-preserved tissue samples. A number of projects are underway to clone extinct species, including the wooly mammoth. In 2009, scientists had their first near-success resurrecting an extinct animal. Using goats as egg donors and surrogates, they made several clones of a wild mountain goat called the bucardo—but the longest-surviving clone died soon after birth. Even if the effort eventually succeeds, the only frozen tissue sample comes from a female, so it will only produce female clones. However, scientists speculate they may beable to remove one X chromossome and add a Y chromosome from a related goat species to make a male. Cloning endangered species is much easier, mainly because the surviving animals can donate healthy, living cells. In fact, several wild species have been cloned already, including two relatives of cattle called the guar and the banteng, mouflon sheep, deer, bison, and coyotes. However, some experts are skeptical that cloning can help a species recover. One big challenge endangered species face is the loss of genetic diversity, and cloning does nothing to address this problem. When a species has high genetic diversity, there is a better chance that some individuals would have genetic variations that could help them survive an environmental challenge such as an infectious disease. Cloning also does not address the problems that put the species in
Page 4 of 6 danger in the first place, such as habitat destruction and hunting. But cloning may be one more tool that conservation scientists can add to their toolbox. Learn more about Conservation Genetics. Left: the alpine ibex, a close cousin of the Bucardo. Right: the last remaining Bucardo with the research team before her eventual death. She was blindfolded to shield her eyes from the photographer's flash. Image courtesy of Advanced Cell Technology. Reproducing a Deceased Pet If you really wanted to, and if you had enough money, you could clone your beloved family cat. At least one biotechnology company in the United States has offered cat cloning services for the privileged and bereaved. But don't assume that your cloned kitty will be exactly the same as the one you know and love. An individual is a product of more than its genes—the environment plays an important role in shaping personality and many other traits. On December 22, 2001, a kitten named CC made history as the first cat—and the first domestic pet—ever to be cloned. CC and Rainbow, the donor of CC's genetic material, are pictured at the right. But do you notice something odd about this picture? If CC is a clone of Rainbow—an exact genetic copy—then why are they different colors? The answer lies in the X chromosome. In cats, a gene that helps determine coat color resides on this chromosome. Both CC and Rainbow, being females, have two X chromosomes. (Males have one X and one Y chromosome.) Since the two cats have the exact same X chromosomes, they have the same two coat color genes, one specifying black and the other specifying orange.
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