Przewalski horses: Could cloning save this endangered species?

By Hannah Brown  with AP  •  Updated: 28/09/2022 – 17:12

Ms Brown writes:

Thanks to sci-fi films, clones don’t usually have a good reputation. But what if it was the only way to keep an endangered species healthy?

Formerly extinct in the wild, the Przewalski’s horse has survived for the past 40 years almost entirely in zoos around the world.

Several wild herds have been reintroduced to their native habitat, the grasslands of China and Mongolia. There’s also a small population living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

However most of the world’s 2,000-strong Przewalski’s population descends from just 12 wild horses saved from extinction. With such a limited gene pool, the future of the species did not look healthy.

That was until, in 2020, the DNA of a Przewalski’s horse frozen 42 years ago was successfully cloned. The result is a horse named Kurt, and a lot rests on the shoulders of this little colt.

The particular stallion with whom Kurt shares his DNA was selected, along with around a dozen others, to have samples taken and frozen in 1980 as part of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Frozen Zoo project.

Though the technology was not sufficiently advanced at the time, the scientists took a risk, hoping that cloning would be perfected and the frozen samples could be used to help this species, along with many others in the future. Read more at source article »

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

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