Eli5: Why can’t we clone endangered animals to save a species?


Eli5: Why can’t we clone endangered animals to save a species?

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Cloning is very expensive and difficult, and the result is a perfect genetic clone of an existing DNA set. If such a creature were to breed with the others, it would accelerate inbreeding, leading to all sorts of additional health problems which would make it that much harder to keep the species alive.

Because of inbreeding. An exact clone breeding with others would cause many many health problems to the species down the line, and it would mess up the gene pool.

For the same reason why you shouldn’t have sex with your siblings. Cloning creates an identical genetic match, there is currently no mechanism to artificially create genetic diversity in order to increase the wild population of a species to a large enough level to make them no longer endangered. Secondly, it’s a really expensive way to not even address the issue. Animals are extinct because we encroach on their habitats or hunt them, making more of them won’t solve that problem.

Clones still have a lot of kinks to be worked out.

For reasons we’re still exploring, clones tend to have much shorter lifespans, and are more susceptible to diseases.

If we’re going to re-spawn a species, best to not do it using sickly specimens with short life spans.