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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Clone rare species Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One study evaluated the effects of cloning rare species. This study was in Iran.



  • Reproductive success (1 study): A controlled study in Iran found that immature eggs of domestic sheep have potential to be used for cloning of Esfahan mouflon.


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.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.