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Cloning and Conservation of Biological Diversity: Paradox, Panacea, or Pandora's Box?

Shaily Menon, University of Massachusetts - Boston
Kamaljit S. Bawa, University of Massachusetts - Boston
Leah R. Gorman, University of Massachusetts - Boston

Abstract

The success of a Scottish team in cloning a mammal from an adult tissue cell has generated considerable speculation in the popular press about potential applications to conservation biology. Possibilities that have been mentioned include cloning endangered species and creating gene banks for the germplasm of rare species. Sensational or inaccurate reports might encourage the mistaken notion that cloning technology is more advanced or reliable than it actually is. More important, such reports might foster the myth that there is no longer an urgency to conserve endangered species or their habitats as long as we have frozen germplasm and cloning techniques. It is our responsibility as conservation biologists to examine the promise as well as the limitations of cloning technology, to dispel myths related to the application of cloning technology to biodiversity conservation, and to reflect once again on the paradigms and approaches of conservation biology.

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Suggested Citation

Shaily Menon, Kamaljit S. Bawa, and Leah R. Gorman. "Cloning and Conservation of Biological Diversity: Paradox, Panacea, or Pandora's Box?" Conservation Biology 11.4 (1997): 829-830.