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How hybrids could help save endangered species

By Lilith Zecherle, PhD Candidate in Conservation Biology, Liverpool John Moores University
Hazel Nichols, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences, Swansea University
Richard Brown, Professor of Animal Evolution, Liverpool John Moores University
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What do you get when you cross two distinct lineages of an endangered species? For scientists hoping to revive an extinct population in Israel, the answer was a lucky accident – one that could upend longstanding ideas about how best to preserve biodiversity.

The Asiatic wild ass is a relative of the donkey that, as the name suggests, was never domesticated. This truly wild animal lives in the steppes and deserts of western and central Asia, from the Mediterranean to Mongolia. Because they vary slightly in size and colour (ranging from a pale sand colour to a dark ochre), Asiatic wild…

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