THE BLACK FOOTED FERRET PROJECT

MEDIA COVERAGE

2021

GENETIC RESCUE

Elizabeth Ann Is the First Cloned Black-Footed Ferret

“This cloned individual has no living descendants in the population,” says Paul Marinari, who leads the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s black-footed ferret program, tells Smithsonian magazine. “If she produces kits and we can properly harness her genetic diversity, it will absolutely benefit the species—the more genetic diversity we have, the better.”

Smithsonian
February 22, 2021

A CLONING FIRST

Meet Elizabeth Ann, the First Cloned Black-Footed Ferret

“In 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service approached Revive & Restore to explore how biotechnology, which the nonprofit develops in pursuit of the de-extinction of species, could help increase the genetic diversity of black-footed ferrets. The following year, Revive & Restore sequenced the genomes of four black-footed ferrets.”

The New York Times
February 18, 2021

GENETIC RESCUE

A black-footed ferret has been cloned, a first for a U.S. endangered species

“This success suggests that cloning can be a viable tool for conservation, says Ryan Phelan, Revive and Restore’s executive director. It also illustrates the importance of preserving the cells of rare and endangered species, says Oliver Ryder, San Diego Zoo’s director of conservation genetics.”

National Geographic
February 18, 2021

genetic diversity

1st clone of US endangered species, a ferret, announced

“With these cloning techniques, you can basically freeze time and regenerate those cells,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service black-footed ferret recovery coordinator Pete Gober said. “We’re far from it now as far as tinkering with the genome to confer any genetic resistance, but that’s a possibility in the future.”

San Diego Tribune, New York Post, Houston Chronicle, and numerous other outlets via Associated Press
February 18, 2021

CONSERVATION UPDATE

Why scientists are cloning black-footed ferrets

“Elizabeth Ann, the clone, was delivered via C-section on December 10, 2020, and as of this writing is still thriving thanks to the work of nonprofit Revive & Restore, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners. She is the first successful clone of an endangered species, and the culmination of years of cutting-edge work attempting to use cloning to rescue vulnerable populations.”

Future Perfect Podcast, VOX
Originally published in 2018, Updated February 19, 2021

CLONING NEWS

How This Ferret From 1988 Was Cloned

Inside Edition
February 18, 2020

CLONING NEWS

Cloning expands black-footed ferret numbers by one

Associated Press
February 18, 2020

LOCAL NEWS

Elizabeth Ann Is Capturing A Lot Of Attention

CBS Denver
February 19, 2020

2019

GENOMIC INSIGHT

RESEARCH AND RESCUE: SAVING SPECIES FROM OURSELVES

“Revive & Restore wants to evaluate today’s biotechnology tools — such as genome sequencing and genetic engineering — and their potential for taking genetic rescue to the next level. Sequencing a black-footed ferret genome reveals the complete DNA package of that species and can help decipher things like where genes responsible for certain traits are located, what those genes affect, and how much genetic variation exists for a trait.”

Long Reads
October, 2019

2016

CRISPR

HOW THE DNA REVOLUTION IS CHANGING US

“The ferrets are a classic example of an entire species that could be saved by genomic technology,” said Ryan Phelan of the group Revive & Restore, which is coordinating efforts to apply genomics to conservation. Working with Oliver Ryder at the San Diego Frozen Zoo, Phelan and her colleagues are attempting to increase the diversity of the ferrets by introducing more variable DNA into their genomes from two specimens preserved 30 years ago.”

National Geographic
August 1, 2016

GENOMIC STUDY

De-Extinction in Action: Scientists Consider a Plan to Reinject Long-Gone DNA into the Black-Footed Ferret Population

“Last year geneticists funded by the Long Now Foundation’s Revive & Restore effort sequenced the genomes of two living ferrets, as well as the DNA of a male and female who died in the 1980s and are stored at the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo. A comparison of the pairs suggests that genetic diversity exists in storage and could be brought back into the living population through, for example, cloning or CRISPR gene editing.”

Scientific American
August 1, 2016

PROPOSALS STAGE

Tweaking Genes to Save Species

One conservation organization has proposed bolstering the ferrets’ genetic diversity with the aid of ferret DNA that was cryopreserved in the 1980s from animals whose genes are not represented in the current population. The group has submitted two proposals to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to essentially bring back to life ferrets with rare genes.

“We’re in a unique period where we’ve got the technology potentially in place to start changing the course for a lot of these species before they go extinct,” says Ryan Phelan

The New York Times
April 16, 2016

Banner image of Black-footed ferret capturing its prey, courtesy USFWS.