Some news from Malaysia-
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia is studying a plan to clone leatherback turtles, an endangered species that scientists believe once swam with dinosaurs, an official said Thursday.Once reports came out about successful cloning, I always considered it just a matter of time before someone tried the process on a dying or extinct species.
But some biologists say the plan is impractical and unlikely to succeed, since no reptile is known to have been cloned.
The Fisheries Department hopes to embark on a leatherback cloning project that could cost $9 million over the next five years, said its director-general, Junaidi Che Ayub.
Junaidi said the clones could produce hatchlings to boost the population.
Malaysia once had one of the world's largest populations of the turtles, which returned regularly to its east coast beaches to lay eggs. Overfishing and pollution have sharply cut their numbers.
A United Nations report last year said leatherbacks, which can weigh up to a ton, have become virtually extinct in Malaysia, with nest sites dipping from 5,000 in the 1960s to less than 10 in recent years.
Tests could first be carried out on Malaysia's abundant green turtles to see if cloning is workable, Junaidi said.
"It's a bizarre idea," said conservation biologist and university lecturer Chan Eng Heng.
Cloning has been done only on mammals such as dogs, sheep, cats and cows, and uncertainties persist about cloned animals' health and life spans, she told the AP.
Putting aside the ethical debates on clonings, the procedure has serious problems at this point. It can take hundreds of attempts to get one success. Even if the scientists do succeed, this is a copy not the original species. Just like when you copy a document, the original is always the best. Cloned animals like Dolly the Sheep, had issues that don't normally crop up with non-cloned animals. Maybe with more work and research, cloning can be improved, but that is all speculation at present.
Bottom line- I agree with Dr. Heng.
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