How, if possible, can a species be saved from extinction if the only surviving population are males that cannot reproduce with each other?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The article does not say it died. I vote to close this question. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jan 25, 2017 at 14:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It does not say anywhere in the article that the female died. $\endgroup$
    – have fun
    Jan 25, 2017 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ This question does not apply just to the linked species. $\endgroup$
    – Shiri
    Jan 25, 2017 at 15:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Its more complex, I am going to provide a quick answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2017 at 16:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlwaysConfused Consider the fact that a lot of species are critically endangered due to habitat destruction and climate change, populations will dwindle and there is a chance that the population, however small, will only be populated by one gender. Is that not possible? $\endgroup$
    – Shiri
    Jan 26, 2017 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


The following answer only deals with theorical feasability

Can a species populated solely by males be saved from extinction?

Short answer : No, not with certainty

Nuanced : yes, in some species, it could be possible

It varies in function of how you determinate the sex of your species. Sex determination is a wide topic, see the appropriate wikipedia page

Some reptilian species are not sexually determined by chromosomes but by temperature. An example is the painted turtle, of which thermal sex determination has been studied by Carrie Lynne Morjan in an article titled Temperature-dependent sex determination and the evolutionary potential for sex ratio in the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta

Thermal sex determination allows you to get 2 different sexes from the "same" genome, as temperature will be the driver of the hormonal differentiation.

Cross-species cloning: influence of cytoplasmic factors on development, by Sun and Zhu states that cross species cloning has been successfully made with fishes and mammals.

Nevertheless, cross-species NT has succeeded in cloning some endangered mammals, such as the gaur

In fish, a type of relatively primitive vertebrate, cross-species NT [nuclear transfer] could be achieved in quite a few genetically distant species

It means we are able to use as a mother and egg-layer a different, albeit related, species.

We can, with a massive grain of salt, hypothesize that we could, in a specie solely constituted of sperm producing male, use the oocyte of another specie to clone it, then use the thermal differentiation to make a female out of our clone.

However, I am not aware of any information about how much genome and spermatozoids genetic payload is modified by the sex differentiation. Therefore, it is possible that sex-determined genes cannot produce a sexually naive clone. For more information, and if you want to research more about it, I recommend you to see the current state-of the art in de-differenciation technics and DNA-demethylation for cloning.

I hope I provided a sufficient answer for you.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .