Scientists reproduce endangered species from frozen sperm

New York, Aug 14 (IANS) Using frozen semen, US scientists have successfully reproduced genetically important offspring from a ferret which died 20 years ago.

The effort renews hope for future survival of black-footed ferrets, a critically endangered species native to North America.

“Our study is the first to provide empirical evidence that artificial insemination with long-stored spermatozoa is not only possible but also beneficial to the genetic diversity of an endangered species,” said lead author David Wildt, senior scientist and head of the Center for Species Survival at The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)

“What we have done here with the black-footed ferret is an excellent example of how sperm preservation can benefit species recovery programmes,” Wild noted.

Over the past several years, the team has been developing assisted reproductive technology like artificial insemination and semen cryopreservation.

SCBI developed a successful laparoscopic artificial insemination technique for black-footed ferrets.

Females are induced ovulators, which mean that mating itself causes the ovary to release its eggs.

The researchers developed a hormone treatment that artificially causes ovulation to occur.

Scientists then deposited the male’s fresh or frozen-thawed sperm directly into the female’s uterus.

Animal care staff closely monitored potentially pregnant females by taking weight measurements and remote monitoring of the nest boxes via closed-circuit cameras.

“Our findings show how important it is to bank sperm and other biomaterials from rare and endangered animal species over time,” Paul Marinari, senior curator at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, said.

The study was published in the journal Animal Conservation.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here