Holy Cow! China clones three ‘Super Cows’ to produce milk by the gallons
- China achieves a cloning breakthrough with the creation of three ‘super cows.’
- Animal cloning is mainly used to improve the quality and productivity of livestock, as well as for conducting research in the field of biotechnology.
- Earlier, China cloned various species, including cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and even pets.
Chinese scientists have successfully cloned three cows that can produce an unusually high amount of milk, state media reported. According to researchers, these cloned cows are capable of producing 50% more milk than the average American cow.
Scientists sampled tissues from cows across China and used what’s called the somatic cell nuclear transfer method, which involves taking the nucleus from a body cell of the animal to be cloned and transferring it into a donated egg cell. Then embryos were placed inside surrogate cows.
The cloning experiment began last year at the Northwest University of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology in Shaanxi, China. The three calves, bred by scientists, were born in the Ningxia region in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year on January 23. These calves were cloned from highly productive cows from the Holstein Friesian breed, which originated in the Netherlands. According to Chinese state media, the chosen animals are capable of producing 18 tons of milk per year, which is nearly 1.7 times the amount of milk an average cow in the United States produces.
Jin Yaping, the lead scientist called this a birth of ‘super cows.’ Furthermore, he said, this breakthrough has great significance for China to concentrate and preserve in an economically feasible way the very best cows in the country, and ‘super cows’ are efforts to revitalize its agricultural sector with breeder animals.
For dairy cows, China is 70% reliant on overseas purchases. According to Global Times, China has roughly 6.6 million cows, however, only about 5 in 10,000 such cattle in China are highly productive.
According to Jin Yaping, this new cloning method means, that people can preserve the genes of these super cows in a timely manner and these cows can provide an excellent resource for future breeding.
Further, he said, “Using cloning technology alone won’t have any economic meaning, and the combination of tapping reproductive technology and using low-productive cows as surrogates allowed us to reproduce 20 more offspring compared with just using cloning for a given time period.”
Cloning in China — a game-changer for the agriculture industry?
China has made remarkable progress in the field of animal cloning in recent years, using advanced techniques to clone various species, including cattle, sheep, pigs, and even pets. The purpose of animal cloning in China is multifaceted and ranges from improving the quality and productivity of livestock to conducting scientific research in the field of biotechnology.
In terms of improving livestock, animal cloning has the potential to increase the efficiency of food production, as well as enhance the quality and taste of meat and dairy products. This has led to increased investment in the field of animal cloning in China, as the country seeks to meet the growing demand for food from its rapidly expanding population.
However, the use of animal cloning in China is not without its challenges and controversies. There are concerns about the health and welfare of cloned animals, as well as the potential impact of technology on the environment. Additionally, there are ongoing debates about the ethical considerations surrounding the use of cloning, including the long-term consequences and potential risks.
Despite these challenges, China continues to make significant strides in the field of animal cloning, investing in research and development to advance the technology. The future of animal cloning in China remains uncertain, but it is clear that the country is at the forefront of this rapidly evolving field and is poised to play a significant role in shaping its future.