Addressing challenges in developing and implementing successful in vitro fertilization in endangered species: an opportunity for humanity to “give back”
Volume 109, Issue 3, Pages 418–419
Richard J. Paulson, M.D., M.S., Pierre Comizzoli, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Thousands of wild animal species on our planet are threatened by extinction. This is due to a variety of factors primarily caused by humans, including loss of habitat, pollution, and over-exploitation (hunting to extinction). The primary goal of animal conservation is the maintenance of biodiversity, since the loss of any one species can disrupt the functioning of an entire ecosystem. Broad knowledge and understanding of reproductive physiology can help overcome fertility issues in these species. For example, we may be able to enhance natural mating in the wild, or in conservation centers. However, mating in captivity is not successful in many species or is impossible because the best genetic matching pairs are not in the same location. It is here that in vitro fertilization may be able to circumvent these mating difficulties and help maintain genetic diversity, especially in small, endangered animal populations (1.)