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Cloning in the Zoo: When Zoos Become Parents

Cloning in the Zoo: When Zoos Become Parents

(p.267) Chapter Twenty-One Cloning in the Zoo: When Zoos Become Parents
The Ark and Beyond
Carrie Friese
University of Chicago Press

This chapter re-examines debates over the use of cloning to preserve endangered animals in zoos, which is supplemented by an analysis of the debates regarding de-extinction. Where previous research has used nature and culture as a lens for parsing the debates over cloning, reproduction is here used as an alternative analytic lens. Different ideas about reproduction are argued to be central to debates over whether or not techniques like cloning should be used as part of ex-situ preservation, or in species resurrection projects more broadly. These debates reference two different logics of reproduction, one that links reproduction with sameness and the other that links reproduction with history and change. The differing notions of reproduction detected in debates over cloning endangered species and its extension into de-extinction are also seen in more general discourses; these different logics of reproduction are for example also present in social theory. In addition, these different notions of reproduction appear to be interlinked with people’s positions regarding if and how biotechnologies can be used to reproduce and/or regenerate species; those who link reproduction with sameness are generally more enthusiastic about technological interventions where those who link reproduction with history and change having more reservations.

Keywords:   cloning, biotechnology, reproduction, nature and culture, zoo-based species, preservation, de-extinction

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