Background information and definitions
Cloning technology is advancing rapidly. For rare mammals, cloning provides the potential to increase reproductive output from a small number of individuals by using surrogate parents of closely related but non-threatened species.
Note that many relevant studies may be documented in journals that are not primarily conservation-related and which are, therefore, not included in our systematic searches for evidence.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled study (date not stated) in Iran (Hajian et al. 2011) found that immature eggs (oocytes) of domestic sheep have potential to be used for interspecies conservation cloning of Esfahan mouflon Ovis orientalis isphahanica. The success rate for transferring cell nuclei attached to Esfahan mouflon cells to domestic sheep oocytes (14.4%) did not significantly differ from that for transfer of nuclei attached to domestic sheep cells (22.1%). Subsequently, of 12 cloned mouflon blastocysts (early-stage cell mass which goes on to form an embryo) transferred to five domestic sheep recipients, two pregnancies resulted. In both cases live births of cloned Esfahan mouflon lambs resulted, but the lambs died soon after birth. Of 1,410 oocytes that had had their nucleus removed, 1,105 and 305 were attached to Esfahan mouflon and domestic sheep cells, respectively. Prior to transferring nuclei, donor cells were serum starved for 5 days. In vitro matured domestic sheep oocytes that had had their nucleus removed were then reconstituted with nuclei donor cells of mouflon and domestic sheep.Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperHajian M., Hosseini S.M., Forouzanfar M., Abedi P., Ostadhosseini S., Hossieni L., Moulavi F., Gourabi H., Shahverdi A.H., Vosough Taghi Dizaj A., Kalantari S.A., Fotouhi Z., Iranpour R., Mahyar H., Amiri-Yekta A. & Nasr-Esfahani M.H. (2011) Conservation Cloning of vulnerable Esfahan mouflon (Ovis orientalis isphahanica): in vitro and in vivo studies. European Journal of Wildlife Research (formerly Zeitschrift für Jagdwissenschaft 1955-2003), 57, 959-969.