Artificial breeding has long been used as a fertility solution in humans, and now it is being used for our animal neighbors. A penguin chick was recently hatched as part of an artificial breeding program that is designed to combat extinction. I believe that this is a good idea: as fewer and fewer species survive, it is up to us to ensure the future of those that remain.
The solution to extinction is not artificial breeding programs. Although artificial breeding programs allow for animal species to increase in number, it does not guarantee a particular species will continue in existence. Artificial breeding leaves room for scientists and researchers to breed penguin chicks through selective breeding, picking and choosing which characteristics they wish to enhance or denounce. Artificial breeding also poses a threat to the natural habitat of penguins by introducing an unnatural number of penguin births in a particular geographic region. Many distinctive characteristics of penguins are found in their ability to hunt and find food, if they are placed in a situation where they have to be supplied food versus finding food, they could evolve and loose some of their natural characteristics thus altering the penguin species. The purpose of extinction program is to preserve the species, this artificial breeding has a potential of increasing the extinction rate.
It's great that scientists have discovered ways to clone and artificially breed, but I don't think this translates to the preservation of species. It's one thing to conduct such an undertaking in a laboratory, another to affect an eco-system. A one-time occurrence won't necessarily positively affect an entire species. If we want to make a genuine positive change, we have to think how we can make positive changes within the real-world environment rather than a project that takes places in a lab setting. To do this will probably take a little bit more funding and grant money.
While artificial breeding is promising, it is not a cure-all for the much larger and complex problem of extinction. The same methods that worked for the penguin may not be a viable option for every animal on the brink of extinction, and this event may very well have been an anomaly. Without further, extensive testing and research, artificial breeding as a solution to extinction remains a distant dream for now.