According to Dolly the Sheep creator, an animal biobank could store endangered animal tissues to save them from extinction. British scientist Professor Sir Ian Wilmut considers it is possible to develop an animal biobank to preserve eggs, sperm and any material from at-risk animals.
The idea is to ensure the biological tissues to be able to reproduce certain species once they became completely extinct. The biobank will preserve and provide cells from rare animals, allowing science to copy them again to ensure their survival into the ecosystem. The idea of the animal biobank has been introduced by scientist Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, the creator of the first mammal clone: Dolly the sheep.
Considering the current high rates of animal extinction, it could be an option for those rare animals facing significant dangers of extinction.
Cells of any kind could, in theory, can be stored in the biobank as long as technological advances let transform them into reproductive cells. According to Wilmut, once eggs, sperm, or tissues from endangered species are preserved, scientists could use them to create viable embryos. Nevertheless, there is still much work to do about this technology.
Wilmut affirms that Dolly’s cloning is a significant step for stem cell investigation. The finding showed in Dolly’s experiment provided scientists a hint to follow the path for stem cell research and therefore embryos.
In fact, after Dolly, researchers created induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells from ordinary adult cells. iPS act just like embryonic stem cells, and they also have the potential to become any tissue in the body.
“We are looking some distance into the future but people are beginning to develop abilities to produce gametes from iPS cells. I would presume that one day with the species which are really studied we will be able to produce gametes, and therefore embryos,” said Wilmut concerned with the revolutionary idea of iPS while conserving endangered species.
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) July 3, 2016
Primary cell trials for 2018
Researchers are planning to conduct primary cell trials in 2018. These tests will take cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease to turn them into fresh brain cells. The new brain cells will be then injected into patient’s brain in an attempt to develop, using the new neurons, dopamine. Dopamine is the brain component affected by Parkinson’s disease.
The trial’s phase-one has been planned to develop a safe treatment. Wilmut, however, considers that this process to build up safe treatment could take at least twenty years. The treatment’s effectiveness will be critical in future trials of brain cells.
Wilmut argues that cell trials in Parkinson’s disease will not be carried out to create unrealistic personalized cells to repair and treat the condition in every single patient, but to build up a “library” of cells compatible with the immune systems of 90% of the population.
“I think as a principle there shouldn’t be a simple red line that says ‘no we don’t.’ The question is what’s the benefit, what’s the risk of mishap and does the one thing justify the other? If there’s a procedure that would enable you to either correct a disease or enhance somebody in some way, and approved within a broad context, then I would be for it,” said Wilmut.
Dolly the Sheep
Dolly was the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell. It was on July 5, 1996, when Professor Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and other researchers at the Roslin Institute in Edinburg cloned the first domestic sheep using the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Dolly’s cloning proved that it is possible to recreate a whole individual from cells took from a particular part of the body. Researchers used a cell made from a mammary gland. The technique used to clone the sheep was a somatic nuclear transfer, in which the cell nucleus from an adult cell is transferred into a developing cell egg from which the cell nucleus has been removed.
Dolly’s creation showed that it is possible to grow a cell which can then go to develop into any part of an animal.
Dolly’s cloning started as almost all other animals’ clone do, in a test tube, and she was initially named “6LL3”. The sheep was then called Dolly in honor to Dolly Parton’s glands. Since its birth, Dolly lived at the Roslin Institute. She was mated with a Welsh Mountain ram and had six baby lambs.
In 2003, Dolly was put down because she had developed a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis. Dolly was euthanized five months before her seventh birthday.
Dolly the Sheep helped researchers to clone other kinds of species, ranging from deer, horses, pigs, and bulls. There were attempts to clone other species, but they did not have the success as Dolly’s cloning.
Dolly the Sheep creator calls for biobank to save endangered animals https://t.co/yjckTqlpYz
— Guardian Science (@guardianscience) July 4, 2016
Dolly the Sheep is by far the world’s most famous clone.
Source: The Guardian