Brazilian scientists have announced that they are moving ahead with plans to clone a number of endangered species, a list of animals that includes the jaguar, maned wolf, and black lion. The groundbreaking initiative is being conducted by the Brasilia Zoological Garden in partnership with the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA. The researchers claim that they’re not looking to repopulate habitats, but to increase the number of captive specimens available. But in the event of extreme cases, they admit that they’re prepared to release these cloned animals into the wild.
Researchers at the Brasilia Zoological Garden have selected eight animals for the initiative, most of which are on the the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The genetic material required to clone these animals were collected over the course of the past two years, including the genomes of the bush dog, coati, collared anteater, gray brocket deer, and bison. The genomes were harvested primarily from dead animals native to the Cerrado, the vast tropical savannah biome that stretches across central Brazil. The researchers say they have already collected 420 samples which are currently being stored in their gene banks.
Now that this initial phase is complete, the next step will be to train the researchers at the zoo.
These animals will not be the first ones to be cloned by EMBRAPA; the government agency was responsible for the birth of a cloned cow in 2001. Since that time, various other animals have been cloned in Brazil, including other cows and horses.
In 2014 LEGO will be releasing a big budget CGI movie so far simply dubbed ‘LEGO’ and the cast is turning out to be a star-studded masterpiece in itself. Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, and Alison Brie have recently signed on to join the likes of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Morgan Freeman. With this cast, it has to be a winner.
According to Deadline “Ferrell will play Emmet’s primary adversary, President Business; Neeson is the president’s powerful henchman, Bad Cop; Offerman is a craggy, swaggering pirate obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Brie is a member of Emmet’s team with a powerful secret.”
Here’s the official synopsis:
The film, the first-ever full length theatrical LEGO movie, follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
Chris Pratt (Moneyball) stars as Emmet. Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises) and Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), will star as two of Emmet’s fellow travelers: Vitruvius, an old mystic; and tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest. She also calls upon the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure voiced by Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, “30 Rock”), with whom she shares a history.