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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Cloning endangered trees and animals is a great medical/technological breakthrough,,,,,,,,,,,,,Once again, we repeat loud and clear that first and foremost, we must save large enough swaths of open space and connective green corridors so that these cloned organisms can have a chance of long term persistence once returned to the wild........We as a people are great in the labratory with the test tube,,,,,,,,Can we be as great in our forests, meadows, and fields giving our fellow creatures room to "live long and prosper?"

Scientists Clone 'Survivor' Elm Trees

ScienceDaily  — Scientists at the University of Guelph have found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that have survived repeated epidemics of their biggest killer -- Dutch elm disease.

The breakthrough, published March 29 in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, is the first known use of in vitro culture technology to clone buds of mature American elm trees.
"This research has the potential to bring back the beloved American elm population to North America," said Prof. Praveen Saxena, a plant scientist who worked on the project with Professor Alan Sullivan. Both are from Guelph's Department of Plant Agriculture.
"It may also serve as a model to help propagate and preserve thousands of other endangered plant species at risk of extinction across the globe."

Majestic American elms were among the most popular and recognizable trees in Ontario, lining boulevards and adorning city centres. But more than 95 per cent of the population in Eastern Canada and the United States has now been wiped out by Dutch elm disease.
The imported fungal infection interferes with water transport and stops nutrients from circulating in the tree. Only about one in 100,000 elms may be naturally resistant to the pathogen.

Looking for new techniques to clone and produce resistant trees through micropropagation, the Guelph researchers selected tissue samples from survivors in Ontario, including a century-old elm tree growing on the U of G campus."The trees that have survived initial and subsequent epidemics potentially represent an invaluable source of potential disease resistance for future plantings and breeding programs," Saxena said.

After growing genetic copies from the shoot tips and dormant buds, the researchers hope to select germplasm with the desired traits including disease-resistance which will further aid elm breeding and biotechnology programs around the world.

They also perfected a way to conserve germplasm over the long term. A germplasm repository now contains 17 accessions collected from mature elm trees that survived across Ontario."Our results demonstrate the usefulness of in vitro technologies for conserving and reintroducing endangered germplasm of economic, social and environment significance," Saxena said.

In vitro conservation technology is highly efficient and better than seed banks for conservation of many plant species, he added. Hundreds of genotypes with known phenotypes can be conserved in a safe small space and can easily be propagated.

The professors worked with Guelph postdoctoral researchers Mukund Shukla and Maxwell Jones; Chunzhao Liu, Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing; and Susan Gosling of the Gosling Foundation."We want to conserve and propagate the American elm and many other rare and endangered Canadian native species so that we can start to replace what has been decimated along the way," said Gosling. Saxena said the team hopes to reintroduce disease-resistant trees. "The need to conserve endangered plant species in provinces such as Ontario where urban sprawl continues is crucial and urgent."

The research was funded by the Gosling Foundation. The Canadian Journal of Forest Research is published by NRC Research Press.

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