Move Over Dolly, They are Cloning Cows Now

Holy Cow! China clones three ‘Super Cows’ to produce milk by the gallons

China cloned three ‘Super Cows’Image credits- Unsplash
  • 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.

(Check out the link for a photo of the ‘Super Cows”)

Cloning Mammoths

Mammoth cloning project given boost by bone marrrow find

05 December 11

After a well preserved mammoth thigh bone was found in Siberia this summer, a joint research group from Japan and Russia has made plans to start cloning the long-extinct mammal from next year, Japan’s Kyodo News has reported.

The gigantic leg bone was discovered in permafrost soil in Siberia this August.Kyodo News‘ report suggests that climate change has led to frozen ground in eastern Russia thawing out, potentially heralding a coming boom in mammoth discoveries.

The thigh bone is special because it contains bone marrow that has been preserved in the ice. The nuclei of the marrow cells could potentially be extracted and put inside egg cells from an elephant — which are close genetic cousins of the mammoth — to create embryos with mammoth DNA.

The researchers — from the Sakha Republic’s mammoth museum and Japan’s Kinki University — would then plant the embryos into elephant wombs and then deliver a baby mammoth.

The iconic woolly mammoth, which went extinct some five to ten thousand years ago, has been a candidate for cloning for many years and researchers have worked tirelessly to find DNA that’s preserved well-enough to clone.

The complete body of a one-month-old female woolly mammoth calf was discovered in 2007, and seemed promising. However, Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Zoological Institute dismissed suggestions that the mammoth could be cloned and used to breed a live mammoth.

If this joint Japanese and Russian team is successful, it won’t be the first time that an extinct animal has been resurrected by cloning. In January 2009, the recently extinct Pyrenean ibex was brought back to life. DNA from the ibex’s skin samples were used to replace genetic material in eggs from domestic goats. Sadly, the newborn cloned ibex died within minutes of its birth due to breathing difficulties