U.S. scientists successfully cloned an endangered species of black-footed ferret by duplicating genes from one of the animals that died 30 years ago. The ferret is named Elizabeth Ann and born on Dec 10.
The scientists are working to restore and produce more clones of North America's only native ferret in the coming months. The scientific team includes biotech conservation group Revive & Restore, private pet cloning company ViaGen Pets & Equine, SanDiego Zoo Global and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Black-footed ferrets are a type of nocturnal weasel and are obligate carnivores. The species were thought to be extinct long ago until a rancher in Wyoming found few in 1981, which were then taken in for a captive breeding program.
"Biotechnology and genomic data can really make a difference on the ground with conservation efforts," said Ben Novak, lead scientist with Revive & Restore, to AP. The team said that Elizabeth Ann is not the first endangered species to be cloned as they've cloned an endangered Przewalski's horse, born in August 2020.