Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Survival for Some Endangered Species Hinges on 'Frozen Zoo'; San Diego Zoo's Gene Bank on Ice Aims to Resurrect Near-Extinct Species

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Survival for Some Endangered Species Hinges on 'Frozen Zoo'; San Diego Zoo's Gene Bank on Ice Aims to Resurrect Near-Extinct Species

Article excerpt

ESCONDIDO, Calif. * Whenever an endangered animal dies at the San Diego Zoo, researchers race out, regardless of the hour, to remove its sperm or eggs, maybe a bit of ear or eyeball, and carefully freeze the cells in liquid nitrogen.

Today, the survival of the northern white rhinoceros and dozens of other species could hinge on the collection amassed over nearly 40 years that has become the largest gene bank of its kind: the Frozen Zoo.

The icy vials may someday even be used in experiments to resurrect recently extinct animals, such as the Hawaiian Po'ouli bird. The stainless steel tanks hold the genetic material of more than 10,000 individual animals from more than 1,000 species and subspecies.

The Frozen Zoo's work has taken on renewed urgency since the San Diego Safari Park lost Angalifu, 42, a white rhino, to cancer in December, leaving only five northern white rhinos left in the world and all unable to reproduce.

Scientists are racing to find the best way to utilize the bank's frozen sperm to produce another one before the northern white rhino goes extinct, which could happen within a decade.

Critics question whether it's worth spending millions of dollars on species that are down to so few.

The bank is valued as a genetic archive that has helped advance artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, cloning and stem cell technology. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.