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Freezing and storing endangered lynx embryos keeps hope for the species alive

Rick Docksai | Science Recorder | March 26, 2013

Freezing and storing endangered lynx embryos keeps hope for the species alive

Lynx get a second chance at survival.

A pair of captive Iberian lynxes who were sterilized may get to pass on their genes, after all. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin salvaged embryos and egg cells from the two cats during their sterilizations and now hope to implant the cells, which they are now keeping in frozen storage, into surrogate cats for future breeding. If they succeed, it will be great news for the Iberian lynx, which researchers say is now one of the most endangered animals on Earth.

The IZW researchers, using a procedure that their own institute had pioneered, obtained embryos from two Iberian lynx females that were living in captivity at breeding centers in Spain and Portugal run by the Spanish conservation initiative Iberian Lynx Conservation Breeding Program (ILCBPS). IZW and ILCBPS are long-term partners.

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