Although the potential use of reproductive biotechnologies for safeguarding endangered wildlife species is undoubted, practical efforts have met with limited success to date. In those instances in which modern technologies have been adapted to rescuing rare or endangered species, procedures have been applied piecemeal, and no consistent breeding program based on reproductive biotechnologies has been undertaken. Here we describe for the first time the rescue of an endangered species, the European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon), by the application of an integrated package of reproductive biotechnologies. This genetic management extended from the initial collection of gametes, through the in vitro production of embryos and interspecific transfer, to the birth of healthy mouflon offspring. In addition, a genetic resource bank for the European mouflon was established, with cryopreserved sperm, embryos, and somatic cells.
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