Somatic cell reprogramming as a tool for the conservation of genetic resources from endangered species

Conservation of endangered species has become increasingly urgent. This is evident given the rate of species extinction has increased by 100 to 1000-fold, and global biodiversity has decreased. With current climatic changes, these concerns will only grow. Assisted reproductive technologies can play a vital role in endangered species conservation. Many approaches are currently being utilized or explored, including animal cloning. Unfortunately, cloned animals are not genetically pure and therefore are not valuable for use in breeding programs. This project aims to provide an alternative solution by utilizing a novel method for the generation of live endangered animals. Hybrid embryos created from domestic species embryos that form the placenta, and stem cells from endangered animals that form the fetus, will allow the creation of genetically pure offspring. The new protocols and expertise generated through the proposed studies have the future potential to be applied to preserve or rescue endangered species.

Faculty Supervisor:

Vilceu Bordignon


Naomi Dicks


Toronto Zoo


Animal science


Life sciences




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