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Cloned Black-Footed Ferret 'Elizabeth Ann' Could Help Determine Fate Of Endangered Animal

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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Elizabeth Ann, a Black Footed Ferret, is an identical twin to its twin sister, “Willa,” who died more than 30 years ago.

Elizabeth Ann, a Black-Footed Ferret, is an identical twin to its twin sister, “Willa,” who died more than 30 years ago.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service cloned the ferret in an effort to expand the diversity of genes among the few remaining Black-Footed ferrets.

Elizabeth Ann was cloned using DNA from Willa that has been frozen in the San Diego Zoo for more than 30 years.

Then the surrogate was brought to Colorado where the National Black-Footed Ferret Center is established near Fort Collins.

Gober told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that all remaining Black-Footed ferrets are decedents of the same seven ferrets which were taken in to captivity decades ago.

“Getting an eighth animal through a cloning effort could be a big accomplishment. ” (credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service)READ MORE: Pilots Called 'Heroes' For Actions After United Airlines Engine ExplosionResearchers hope introducing Elizabeth Ann’s genes in to the breeding process will help strengthen the viability of the species going forward.

Gober said cloning the ferrets isn’t humans trying to play God with creation.

He said humans have indirectly caused the Black-Footed ferrets to deplete over the years.

Elizabeth Ann isn’t the first animal to be cloned.

While ferrets like Elizabeth Ann tend to only live for one-to-three years in the wild, they can live up to eight years in captivity.

Gober said it likely wouldn’t be until after 2026 that Elizabeth Ann’s offspring are potentially released in to the wild.

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