Cloning could conserve animal genetic diversity

While the world’s political and religious
leaders were aghast at the announcement last year of new and easier techniques
for cloning mammals, scientists were busy finding ways to apply the discovery
to an important need — conserving the genetic diversity of some animal
species.

According to a report by the Food
and Agricultural Organization
, about 1,500 different livestock breeds
are endangered or at a critical state, most of them in developing nations.
Since new cloning techniques allow clones to be made from skin and other
tissue, sampling and storage of genetic samples is far more feasible and
economical.

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