China clones a pair of Tibetan GOATS

China has claimed that it has successfully cloned the first Tibetan goats using the same technique that produced the world’s first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. 

Scientists said the goat clones were created by somatic cell cloning, which involves transferring the nucleus of an adult cell into a new egg cell. The egg is then implanted in a surrogate mother who gives birth to a baby that has zero percent of her DNA but 100 percent of the donor’s.

The first-born weighed 7.4 pounds and ‘is healthy,’ according to a video from the state-owned news channel China Central Television, but there has been no mention of the second goat.

They were cloned from massive, prize-winning male goats who are desirable for breeding.

Chinese scientists said they are doing this to ‘restore and preserve’ the genetic material from ‘excellent individuals’ in the population – a difficult process for breeders and herders. 

‘Through cloning, the genetic information can be completely copied,’ said lead researcher Su Jianmin with Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.

‘With making full use of excellent breeding rams, as well as fully utilizing and expanding their genetic resources, we provide our scientific and technological strength to increase the income of local farmers and develop the local breeding industry.’

The team intend to clone the goats who produce the largest quantities of valuable wool, scientists said.

For the long term, they want to clone the male goats that can sire the best wool producers.

Chinese media reports announcing the scientific breakthrough have been sparse on details, but they did disclose that the animal was produced by somatic cell cloning in Qinghai Province.

This is the same technique that was used to produce the famed Scottish sheep Dolly.

Somatic cell cloning, also called somatic cell nuclear transfer or just nuclear transfer, is simple in concept but difficult in execution.

It involves taking the DNA out of the cell from a donor – in this case a body cell, as indicated by the word ‘somatic.’

Then an egg cell has its DNA removed, to be replaced with the donor’s DNA.

This altered egg cell is then implanted in a surrogate, who gives birth to a baby that is genetically identical to the animal that donated the body cell.

With the Tibetan goats, the somatic cell DNA came from three ‘excellent breeding rams,’ and the egg came from a single ewe.

These rams were the cream of the crop, each weighing nearly 900 pounds and having won prizes in breeding competitions. 



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