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First cloned endangered species born, then dies.

By Defect in News
Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:37:25 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A cow by the name of "Bessie" gave birth to a cloned Gaur on january 8th, 48 hours later, the baby died of dysentery. The infection did not appear to be a result of the cloning process and with the data collected the project has been called a success. This not only leads to the idea that endangered species could make a large comeback by forcing upon them genetic diversity, but it also means it is possible to revive extinct species if you have but one cell left from them. (more about the birth at cnn)

So, who's up for a giant panda barbeque?


But joking aside, what does this mean? Now that driving an animal to extinction doesn't mean as much as it used to, are we taking over an enormous part of Project Earth? Who decides what species are brought back? Are animals that died off naturally given a second chance, or just ones that we killed off? What about laws regarding poaching endangered species?

It's just seeming like breakthroughs are a dime a dozen these days, and no one's being given the chance to absorb everything. We can clone everyone and their pet duck, and right now it's fairly isolated, but it won't be forever. What if Microsoft decides that the dodo could make a great gift to include with their next OS? They certainly have enough money to fund any research of any project. What if France decides to bring back every species they can for a giant zoo?

This is not improbable. The trouble with inventing new procedures and techniques is that once they're proven, it's impossible to uninvent them. We're still having problems with countries just now catching up to nuclear technology, and violating international treaties just so they can test out a couple detonations. There have been some fairly critical breakthroughs in the past couple years and it seems like at the most they're just sparking some conversation at the dinner table. What's going to be the nagasaki and hiroshima of this technology? Who's going to be the victim in this one man pissing contest?


Your scientists were so caught up in whether or not they could, they never stopped to think if they should.

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Poll
I want my own:
o giant panda 11%
o spotted owl 6%
o dodo 14%
o neon duck billed badger 17%
o I just want a hampster 8%
o Giant spotted Inoshiro with wings, and a popsicle 41%

Votes: 90
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o cnn
o Also by Defect


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First cloned endangered species born, then dies. | 16 comments (16 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
ob poll choice whine (3.00 / 4) (#1)
by elby on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:24:16 PM EST

I am disappointed that the poll did not include the bowtied duckfoot adoracubby. With the beauty of cloning, we can finally save these noble creatures.

Why the negative taint? (3.50 / 4) (#2)
by GreenCrackBaby on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:25:11 PM EST

I voted this up because good discussion will probably follow, but I am wondering why you chose such a negative taint for your article?

This should be like watching the moon landing all over. Everyone should be filled by a sense of awe about how far us humans have come, and how far we can go. Doesn't the possibility that we can rectify the wrongs of our shared past by bringing back those animals we've killed off make you happy?

Assuming that humans will take the approach that "well, we can always bring them back so what's to worry about" is silly. This is a bad analogy, but I'm at work and time is short, so here goes: just because we now can cure leaprasy (sp?), does this mean that people activly seek out becoming leapers? People aren't that stupid. Just because we can bring back the dodo doesn't mean we'll soon see it added to the menu at KFC.

All that cloning has done is given us nature's first "undo" button.

People don't like playing God (2.00 / 1) (#4)
by Biff Cool on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 04:14:43 PM EST

Don't get me wrong I fully agree with you, but most peoples opinions on cloning and gene therapy seem based on prejudices they have formed from sci-fi movies.  They're very made uncomfortable by the concept of "playing god", maybe rightly so, and so they make knee-jerk reactions to their fears.

I actually don't care that much about bringing back extinct species, the argument of the ones we drove to extinction holds some water, but for me it's mostly sentimental.  OTOH I think it waould be pretty cool to be able to go and see a Tasmanian Tiger or a dodo, and what a great logical flip it would be to tell your grandchildren "I remember when there were no Sabre-toothed Tigers", as opposed to "I remember when you could see a Bald Eagle in the zoo."


My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler


[ Parent ]
But we also need a Redo Button (none / 0) (#10)
by fullerine on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 07:04:25 AM EST

So we can undo the undo mistakes we make.

[ Parent ]
I wish I had an elephant! (2.75 / 4) (#3)
by Blarney on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:44:02 PM EST

A furry elephant, if possible!

My theory is that the American elephant was exterminated because, like the dodo, it did not evolve in the presence of humans. When people arrived, they killed them easily for food and for sport.

They probably roamed around in enormous herds, (they being the elephants, not the people) having farting contests and humming "Fade to Black". That might be another reason to kill them (the elephants).

We can confirm my theories now, with science!



This was discussed (3.00 / 3) (#5)
by Cyberdeck on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 04:20:52 PM EST

The techniques and procedures for this were discussed in Scientific American about 6 months back. The artical was (IIRC) written by the scientists who started this procedure.

My apologies for not having the URL handy.

-C
You can never have a bad day when you start it with "FORMAT C:".
Where's the danger? (1.66 / 3) (#6)
by thomp on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 07:21:07 PM EST

Editorial comment: I don't see this as much more than a novelty. Cloning is an expensive business; there needs to be a considerable financial incentive for an investor to throw large sums of money at a project. Do you think there's a market for reviving extinct animals? I don't, especially when there already exists more lucrative markets for cloning, e.g., transgenic livestock producing pharmaceutical products, xenotransplantation with pigs(cross-species organ donation), disease-resistant livestock. These are projected to be multi-billion dollar markets in 10 - 20 years. And that's not even touching on the commercial potential of pet cloning.

Now, to address your questions/concerns: I can't think of a downside to cloning, and I especially have problems comparing it to a Hiroshima. Cloning as portrayed in the media does not and will never exist. Where's the danger in cloning extinct or endangered animals? It would be fascinating to create a living museum of extinct animals - even dinosaurs. The environmentalists' mantra is 'biodiversity, biodiversity'. Well, with cloning we just might be able to bring their chants to life.

Where's the danger? (2.50 / 2) (#7)
by thomp on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 07:21:13 PM EST

Editorial comment: I don't see this as much more than a novelty. Cloning is an expensive business; there needs to be a considerable financial incentive for an investor to throw large sums of money at a project. Do you think there's a market for reviving extinct animals? I don't, especially when there already exists more lucrative markets for cloning, e.g., transgenic livestock producing pharmaceutical products, xenotransplantation with pigs(cross-species organ donation), disease-resistant livestock. These are projected to be multi-billion dollar markets in 10 - 20 years. And that's not even touching on the commercial potential of pet cloning.

Now, to address your questions/concerns: I can't think of a downside to cloning, and I especially have problems comparing it to a Hiroshima. Cloning as portrayed in the media does not and will never exist. Where's the danger in cloning extinct or endangered animals? It would be fascinating to create a living museum of extinct animals - even dinosaurs. The environmentalists' mantra is 'biodiversity, biodiversity'. Well, with cloning we just might be able to bring their chants to life.

Oops. (none / 0) (#8)
by thomp on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 07:23:53 PM EST

Not sure why that posted twice. I hope that doesn't qualify me as a spammer ...

[ Parent ]
Whoa there! (4.33 / 3) (#9)
by itsbruce on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 06:36:13 AM EST

Now that driving an animal to extinction doesn't mean as much as it used to[...]

I have to take serious issue with that statement. What is the point of cloning an extinct animal when the forces that made it extinct are still in operation? If its natural habitat is still disappearing (or has gone completely), if the poachers are still there, if the local human population is still growing exponentially, if the same toxins are being dumped into the area - if none of that has changed then any attempt to reintroduce the creature to its old habitat is likely to be as much a failure as its own struggle against the initial extinction.

Until the forces that cause these extinctions are addressed, this technology is never going to do more than provide stock for exotic zoos.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
Death from lack of interspecies antibody transfer? (5.00 / 3) (#11)
by benjy on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 12:01:32 PM EST

The article states that the guar "died of dysentery within 48 hours of birth." This very well may be a normal death since a study of neonatal diarrheal disease of dairy cattle notes that at a major site in Israel "the morbidity from neonatal calf diarrhea approaches 100% while mortality is 6-7%." The Cattlemen's College at beef.org also talks about the dangers and widespread incidence of neonatal diarrhea.

However, there may be something happening here which could cripple the entire process of birthing cloned species using a different species. Basically, newborns do not have an immune system which works very well. Much of their ability to fight off disease comes from antibodies which are transferred from their mother via the placenta before birth and via the milk after birth.

There are several places where this process could conceivably be interrupted. First, the guar may not have had the appropriate receptors to receive the cow's antibodies and trigger their absorption. Secondly, the antibodies are absorbed in the gut, so while nursing, they are exposed to degradation by enzymes in the mouth and gut. While this degradation is also present for same species mother-child pairs, there are factors which limit it. It is possible that in cross-species nursing, such a large percentage of the antibodies in the milk are digested that little or no immunity is conferred on the infant. No antibody transfer => no immunity => unchecked dysentery => death.

For a more detailed description of the process, see the "antibody absorption and transmission of immunity" heading in this overview of the developing gastro-intestinal system or search for "colostral antibody transfer" on Google.

So, it may be possible that this death is related to the cloning process itself. On the other hand, neonatal diarrhea is such a large problem with cattle that it could just be a normal thing. Essentially, I know enough about Immunology to recognize how a problem could exist, but I do not know enough to determine if incompatible receptors or enhanced enzymatic degradation could actually be responsible.

Clones, good or bad? (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by Zenith on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:05:44 PM EST

Cloning have been a major debating issue in the last few years. Ever since the scientist successfully clone a sheep it become a hot issue. The need is to understand how far are we going to go with this technology. I for one agrees that using genetic material to help cure a disease is a good way to elimate the problems of AIDS and cancers, but how far would others go?

The ethic issue behind the genetic cloning is more of a concern than cloning itself. When scientist create a new life what are they? Are they animal or are they just some creatures create in the lab? And if they can clone animals, what's stopping them clone humans? Are couple of more Hitler's needs to be clone before we realise we a playing with fire? The technology avaliable is good, but it depends how we use it. The difficulties in maintain this kind of advance technologies is that we don't have protocal or rules that bound all the people, US can agree not to clone human, but that does not mean other countries will do the same. Perhaps this techologies come some what to early, as human are not mature enough to handle such a powerful mean of controlling life and death.

"Truth is what people conceit, but in reality there is no real truth, just opinions." - Zenith

What is the problem with human cloning? (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by MyrdemInggala on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 09:19:30 PM EST

I'm assuming that you are not a troll.

When scientist create a new life what are they? Are they animal or are they just some creatures create in the lab?

They're animals. A perfectly ordinary set of animal DNA gives you a perfectly ordinary animal. The method by which you obtain a zygote is completely irrelevant. Are in-vitro babies any less human because you make them in a lab?

And if they can clone animals, what's stopping them clone humans?

Fiddly technical details, as far as I know, and laws which I consider to be unjust.

Are couple of more Hitler's needs to be clone before we realise we a playing with fire?

"But what if they clone Hitler?" is a non-issue propagated by people who seem to have acquired their technical knowledge of cloning from bad sci-fi cartoons. In real life, cloning a dead person does not mean resurrecting them fully-grown with their memories intact.

If someone cloned Hitler, we would get a baby which was Hitler's twin brother. He would probably grow up to be quite a nice young man with an artistic streak. To propose that he would eventually become an evil dictator is to assume the existence of an "evil dictator gene", which is just silly.

The technology avaliable is good, but it depends how we use it. The difficulties in maintain this kind of advance technologies is that we don't have protocal or rules that bound all the people

Absolutely right. That's why we need to *make some new rules*. This is what societies have to do as they grow up and learn how to do more things.

Perhaps this techologies come some what to early, as human are not mature enough to handle such a powerful mean of controlling life and death.

How is cloning a "powerful means of controlling life and death"? It does not allow us to control death, and we already have the power to create life. People make babies every day through good old traditional sex, and occasionally artificial insemination, or in-vitro fertilisation. This is just a different way of making babies - one which does not involve the merging of a sperm and an ovum.

It's an entirely valid method. Of course, it has to be regulated - it's anti-evolutionary, so widespread use would have bad long-term effects on the population. However, there is no reason for it not to be used in a small number of cases where the conventional methods fail - if a hundred, or even a thousand people were cloned per year, it would have absolutely no impact on the human race: the world population is *6 billion* (That's six thousand million - Americans!! ;) ), and this isn't introducing any strange new genes - it's just making extra twins.

Banning human cloning outright and screaming "abomination" is a stupid knee-jerk reaction. Sooner or later, people will clone people . We can deal with it now, or we can wait for private labs to start popping up in countries with a laid-back approach to ethics, and deal with it later.
-- 22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head. -- Evil Overlord List
[ Parent ]

You misunderstood my concept... (none / 0) (#15)
by Zenith on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 07:37:21 PM EST

Okay, perhaps cloning is not a bad thing (and I did not in any part of my comment say it is), but there is implication in cloning human. Lets put aside if they are exactly the same or not, and lets even put aside the fact that some maniac might clone Hilter with memory intact and stuff, lets just talk about how the clone stand in society.

Okay, lets say we clone a human, and give it to a particular family (perhaps they are infertile, they want a children, whatever the case maybe). They seems to have an identity, but what is it? Is it the DNA that it comes from? Or is it the family that adopt him/her? If they don't find about that they are being grow in a lab, that would be fine wouldn't it? Not really, thing like this never stay long. What do you think you would feel if you know you were a clone? Perhaps in animal there is no such complexication, but in human, we have a self-conscious and self awareness that could led to some disasterous outcome.

I didn't say we should "banned" all human cloning, but we should be aware of all the implication and problem that might arise from such issue. Precaution should be take for such things, as human cloning could change the world. Perhaps I bit too causious, but I think its a necessary step, as science grow more advance so quickly we need to be aware of the implication of such technologies.

"Truth is what people conceit, but in reality there is no real truth, just opinions." - Zenith
[ Parent ]

Human clones and Society (none / 0) (#16)
by MyrdemInggala on Tue Jan 16, 2001 at 10:00:41 AM EST

and lets even put aside the fact that some maniac might clone Hilter with memory intact and stuff

You're missing my point here. Nobody can bring back Hitler with his memories intact. It's not possible. It's not going to happen. It's not an issue.

I'm not sure what you mean by "exactly the same". Genetically or mentally?

Okay, lets say we clone a human, and give it to a particular family (perhaps they are infertile, they want a children, whatever the case maybe). They seems to have an identity, but what is it? Is it the DNA that it comes from? Or is it the family that adopt him/her?

Of course they have an identity, just like any normal person. The fact that they have DNA identical to another person does not mean that they do not have their own identity. Why should it? Are twins and triplets not individual people because they share the same DNA?

If they don't find about that they are being grow in a lab, that would be fine wouldn't it? Not really, thing like this never stay long. What do you think you would feel if you know you were a clone?

Test-tube babies are "grown in a lab" too. Does that make them less human?

Quite frankly, I wouldn't give a crap if I found out tomorrow that I was a clone - or a test-tube baby, or the result of some bizarre alien lab experiment. The way in which my body was conceived does not change who I am. I don't think much of the perception that the human reproductive system is somehow sacrosanct, and if you fiddle with it you get something less than human.

Perhaps in animal there is no such complexication, but in human, we have a self-conscious and self awareness that could led to some disasterous outcome.

I don't think that many social problems will be caused by people finding out that they're clones and being horribly scarred as a result. The problems will arise because of frothing, ignorant fanatics who see clones as monsters. Cloned people are likely to be hurt by the words and actions of such people.

That's not an argument against cloning people, though. Should interracial couples not have children because in many parts of society such children are seen as freaks? I don't think so. Neither should we not clone people because society will be prejudiced against the clones. That's society's problem, and the prejudice needs to be eliminated.

I didn't say we should "banned" all human cloning, but we should be aware of all the implication and problem that might arise from such issue. Precaution should be take for such things, as human cloning could change the world. Perhaps I bit too causious, but I think its a necessary step, as science grow more advance so quickly we need to be aware of the implication of such technologies.

I agree that we need to consider the implications of human cloning carefully before we do it. However, I think that you are overestimating the implications by a very wide margin. Cloning is not going to bring an end to civilisation as we know it.
-- 22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head. -- Evil Overlord List
[ Parent ]

Panda Barbecue? (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by Seumas on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 01:16:42 PM EST

Since the author brought this up, I'm going to assume a liberty in responding to it as a sarcastic 'on topic' comment.

Screw pandas. I'd like to find out just what a nice barbecued tyrannosaurus burger tastes like. Or maybe a plesiosaurus sandwich (fishy tasting?). Plus, imagine the cool purses, shoes and brief cases you could make from dinosaur hide.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

First cloned endangered species born, then dies. | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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