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Cloning as it relates to the animal kingdom generally refers to the production of genetically identical individuals. Because cloning is increasingly the subject of renewed attention as a tool for rescuing endangered or extinct species, it seems timely to dissect the role of the numerous reproductive techniques encompassed by this term in animal species conservation. Although cloning is typically associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer, the recent advent of additional techniques that allow genome replication without genetic recombination demands that the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to generate gametes or embryos, as well as older methods such as embryo splitting, all be included in this discussion. Additionally, the phenomenon of natural cloning (e.g., a subset of fish, birds, invertebrates, and reptilian species that reproduce via parthenogenesis) must also be pointed out. Beyond the biology of these techniques are practical considerations and the ethics of using cloning and associated procedures in endangered or extinct species. All of these must be examined in concert to determine whether cloning has a place in species conservation. Therefore, we synthesize progress in cloning and associated techniques and dissect the practical and ethical aspects of these methods as they pertain to endangered species conservation. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences, Volume 12 is February 2024. Please see for revised estimates.

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Journal article


Annu Rev Anim Biosci

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