Cloning Wild Life

Cloning Wild Life: Zoos, Captivity, and the Future of Endangered Animals

Carrie Friese
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Cloning Wild Life
    Book Description:

    In this brilliant study of cloned wild life, Carrie Friese adds a whole new dimension to the study of reproduction, illustrating vividly and persuasively how social and biological reproduction are inextricably bound together, and why this matters. - Sarah Franklin, author ofDolly Mixtures: the Remaking of GenealogyThe natural world is marked by an ever-increasing loss of varied habitats, a growing number of species extinctions, and a full range of new kinds of dilemmas posed by global warming. At the same time, humans are also working to actively shape this natural world through contemporary bioscience and biotechnology. InCloning Wild Life, Carrie Friese posits that cloned endangered animals in zoos sit at the apex of these two trends, as humans seek a scientific solution to environmental crisis. Often fraught with controversy, cloning technologies, Friese argues, significantly affect our conceptualizations of and engagements with wildlife and nature.By studying animals at different locations, Friese explores the human practices surrounding the cloning of endangered animals. She visits zoos - the San Diego Zoological Park, the Audubon Center in New Orleans, and the Zoological Society of London - to see cloning and related practices in action, as well as attending academic and medical conferences and interviewing scientists, conservationists, and zookeepers involved in cloning. Ultimately, she concludes that the act of recalibrating nature through science is what most disturbs us about cloning animals in captivity, revealing that debates over cloning become, in the end, a site of political struggle between different human groups. Moreover, Friese explores the implications of the social role that animals at the zoo play in the first place - how they are viewed, consumed, and used by humans for our own needs. A unique study uniting sociology and the study of science and technology,Cloning Wild Lifedemonstrates just how much bioscience reproduces and changes our ideas about the meaning of life itself.Carrie Friese is Lecturer in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2909-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-20)

    In November 2000 a cloned, endangered bovine was born on an industrial-sized farm in Iowa. Named “Noah,” this gaur was created through an interspecies modification in the somatic cell nuclear transfer process, or what is more popularly referred to as cloning. Rather than use scarce gaur eggs in this cloning experiment, researchers from Advanced Cell Technology instead used surplus eggs from domestic cows.¹ Retrieved from a local slaughterhouse, the common genes found in the nucleus of the cow eggs were removed so that the rare DNA in gaur bodily cells could be transferred in.ttUltimately forty-four of these novel embryos...

  5. 1 Debating Cloning
    (pp. 21-46)

    Cloning endangered animals has been extremely controversial within and across zoological parks. A reproductive scientist who has worked in both the biotechnology industry and in zoos told me about his personal experience with this debate.

    This is an ongoing battle, actually, in the zoo community. I’m still involved in the zoo community, both as a reproductive science advisor but also as a cloner … [Cloning] just caused a lot of—well, I go to a lot of the zoo meetings thinking, “Oh, no, what’s going happen next?” … For instance, one of the people that I followed careerwise, and would...

  6. 2 Making Animals
    (pp. 47-70)

    What happens when cloned animals who have inherited DNA from both an endangered and a domestic animal are considered indisputably part of the endangered species? What kinds of scientific practices are enabled by this classification? What kinds of human-animal relationships are activated in the zoo through this classificatory practice? In varying ways, the cloned gaur, African wildcats, and the sand cat all embody this set of classificatory practices.

    This chapter describes the scientific practices embodied by each of these animals. Gaining the technological infrastructures, tacit knowledge, and embodied skills required to do cloning and related reproductive techniques was the focus...

  7. 3 Transpositions
    (pp. 71-94)

    In January 2006, I attended the annual meetings of the International Embryo Transfer Society (IETS). This is a rather small academic society, bringing together reproductive scientists who, by and large, develop technologies to reproduce nonhuman animals. There is a significant focus on agricultural species at these meetings, which is not surprising given the commercial basis for much of reproductive technology development. But there is also a committee for endangered species and companion animals within this organization, and the posters and presentations at the conference represented reproductive scientists who work with a range of different species across varying institutional contexts. As...

  8. 4 Reproducing Populations
    (pp. 95-118)

    This chapter explores the scientific practices that are argued for when male animals produced through interspecies nuclear transfer are classified as part of the endangered species population, but female clones are not. The cloned banteng embodies this set of classificatory practices. While this animal may be like a hybrid according to some people, he has nonetheless been strategically included within the North American Species Survival Plan for the banteng. On what basis does it make sense to include heteroplasmic male, but not female, endangered animals within such management protocols? How are nature and culture connected in this set of classificatory...

  9. 5 Genetic Values
    (pp. 119-140)

    The placard outside the banteng’s enclosure at the San Diego Zoo states that one of the animals on display is a clone, as noted in chapter 2. It begins in a rather typical manner, asserting that this endangered bovine is a “true species.” This differentiates these animals from other, presumably domestic “breeds” of cow. The placard continues to describe the phenotype of the banteng, largely through the lens of sex differences. Here the zoo visitor learns that the dark, chocolate brown individual with horns is a male, while the lighter brown individuals without horns are females. These are common lessons...

  10. 6 Knowing Endangered Species
    (pp. 141-164)

    A number of people I spoke with while conducting this research were rather critical of endeavors to clone endangered animals. All affiliated with zoos, these scientists questioned if animals produced through interspecies nuclear transfer counted as “endangered” due to their mitochondrial DNA being inherited from another, domesticated animal species. Many wanted to know more about interspecies mitochondrial inheritance, its role in embryonic development, and its consequences for the health of offspring. In other words, these scientists wanted to take a precautionary approach to biotechnology development in the zoo.¹ According to this perspective, more scientific knowledge is required regarding both normal...

  11. 7 Biodiversities
    (pp. 165-182)

    This chapter examines the varying logics of diversity that underpin basic scientific approaches to endangered animal reproduction in zoos. On the one hand, basic scientists want to understand the physiologies of wild animals on the basis that they are different from other, well-known species. In this context, extinction represents a potential loss of valuable knowledge regarding the diversity of life forms on the planet.¹ On the other hand, basic scientists also want to preserve that biodiversity. The goal is to use basic knowledge as a means to keep a range of different kinds of animal species on the planet. This...

    (pp. 183-196)

    This chapter compares how the three different kinds of cloning projects described across this book seek to make nature in the zoo. How do the different visions of nature, embodied by different cloned animals, compare and contrast? What does cloning varyingly reproduce across different projects? What does cloning transform? How do different cloned endangered animals challenge us to think about and do “nature” in new ways? How do older definitions of nature get incorporated and remediated within these new iterations? How are such decisions made?

    I use the three statements above to weave my way through these questions. It is...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 197-220)
    (pp. 221-242)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 243-246)
    (pp. 247-247)