Haryana institute clones world’s second buffalo calf

June 7th, 2009 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Karnal (Haryana), June 7 (IANS) Scientists at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) here in Haryana have successfully cloned a buffalo calf for the second time in the world, officials said Sunday.
The institute had this February cloned the world’s first buffalo calf.

The second calf named Garima was born Saturday and the animal is healthy, scientists said.

“The calf was born yesterday (Saturday) through a caesarean operation that went for nearly an hour,” Rameshwar Singh, official spokesperson of the institute, said.

“Last time we took the donor cell from the ear of the mother buffalo but this time we have taken it from the foetus,” he said.

“The newly-born cloned calf is normal and healthy and weighs 43 kg. However, we have kept it in the ICU (intensive care unit) under the continuous supervision of our scientists. This time we do not want to take any chances.”

The first cloned calf died within a few days after suffering from a lung infection.

“This is the world’s second cloned buffalo calf and the first one was also cloned here,” Singh said.

The cloning was done on the Murrah breed of buffalo. The breed has been successful in Haryana and other states as a high milk-yielding variety.

The NDRI scientists claimed that “hand-guided cloning technique” used by them was an advanced modification of the “conventional cloning technique” used in cloning sheep Dolly - world’s first cloned animal - by scientists in a laboratory in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Our scientists made use of advanced hand-guided cloning technique that is a modification of conventional cloning technique. The prior experience of using this advanced technology last time had immensely helped our scientists,” Singh said.

“The procedure is less demanding in terms of equipment, time and skill and we can also obtain the desired sex of the cloned buffalo.”

A.K. Srivastava, director of the institute, said: “Now in the second phase we are moving towards the cloning of sheep and goat. We have also tied up with various research institutes to pursue our experiments in this direction.”

“The advanced testing of the cloning techniques can help us in augmenting the milk production and other dairy products in the country. It is beneficial in terms of both quality and quantity,” he added.

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