Don't Have a Cow, Man
A cow in Iowa has been implanted with a cloned embryo of an endangered Asian gaur, an ox-like animal native to the jungles of India and Southeast Asia. The experiment marks the first time an endangered species has been cloned, and the first time a cloned animal has gestated in the womb of another species. If all goes as planned, Bessie the cow will give birth to Noah the gaur next month, say scientists at a Massachusetts biotechnology company, who are publishing a paper on their methods in the journal Cloning. The scientists say their techniques could help save endangered species and perhaps even restore extinct ones. The biotech company, Advanced Cell Technology, has gotten permission from the Spanish government to clone the bucardo mountain goat, which went extinct earlier this year, and it is making plans to clone giant pandas using black bears as surrogate mothers. Some enviros are excited about this new tool for saving species, while others worry that animals produced in a lab may not be able to function in the wild and that cloning could detract from other important conservation efforts, like habitat protection.