Numlock Sunday: Lawrence Lenhart on the resurrection of endangered species
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition.
This week, I spoke to Lawrence Lenhart, who wrote “How to clone a black-footed ferret” for High Country News. Here's what I wrote about it:
The San Diego Zoo funds the Frozen Zoo, which is a repository of 10,500 tissue samples and genetic information on about 1,224 species, many of which are endangered. One beneficiary of this record is the black-footed ferret, which two years ago became the first North American endangered species to be genetically duplicated. It’s so endangered it’s been declared extinct on two separate occasions, and their current population is only about 600. Those 600 are descended from just seven ferrets, which is a problem because genetically speaking most members of the species resemble siblings and cousins. One sample in the Frozen Zoo came from Willa, a black-footed ferret who lived decades ago and had no offspring, meaning her genetic material would be an excellent new addition to the population. Today, the …