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Brazil plans to clone endangered species

Endangered speciesBrazil says it will try cloning eight animal species that are under pressure, keeping them in captivity as a reserve in case wild populations collapse.

Brazil's agricultural research agency, Embrapa, working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostly from carcasses, to prepare for a cloning program, NewScientist.com reported.

International conservation groups say they approve of the plans although the priority should always be to preserve species in the wild by minimizing hunting and maintaining habitats.

"While cloning is a tool of last resort, it may prove valuable for some species," Ian Harrison of the Biodiversity Assessment Unit at Conservation International in Arlington, Va., said. "Experimenting with it now, using species that are not at immediate risk of extinction, is important."

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