Revival of extinct species using nuclear transfer: hope for the mammoth, true for the Pyrenean ibex, but is it time for "conservation cloning"?

Raul Eduardo Pina Aguilar, Janet Lopez-Saucedo, Richard Sheffield, Lilia I Ruiz-Galaz, Jose de J Barroso-Padilla, Antonio Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Recent accomplishments in the fields of nuclear transfer and genomics, such as the cloned offspring production from frozen mouse cells, cryopreserved at not too low temperatures without cryoprotectors; or the sequencing of wooly mammoth genome, have opened the opportunity for the revival of extinct species. As expected, they are receiving a lot of publicity in the media and also scientific attention. Furthermore, it was recently published the "revival" of the first extinct subspecie: the Pyrenean ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica), a wild goat extinct in 2000. This strengthens the field of cloning as it had been tarnished by induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and other methods of reprogramming. However, for biological conservation purposes, cloning is not generally accepted as an alternative for animal conservation, and there is an ongoing debate between reproductive scientists and conservation specialists. Although we believe that nuclear transfer technologies have an opportunity in conservation efforts for some species that are on the brink of extinction and that population status, geographical isolation, reproductive characteristics, and human pressure create a situation that is almost unsustainable. In this article we discuss the barriers in cloning mammoths and cloning controversies in conservation from a zoological perspective, citing the species that might benefit from nuclear transfer techniques in the arduous journey so as not to disappear forever from this, our world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
JournalCloning and Stem Cells
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


  • Animals
  • Cell Dedifferentiation
  • Cloning, Organism
  • Extinction, Biological
  • Goats
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Mammoths
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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