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Indian scientists clone world's 'first' buffalo calf

February 12, 2009 15:07 IST
Last Updated: February 12, 2009 15:47 IST

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Scientists at India's National Dairy Reserach Institute on Thursday said they have cloned the world's first buffalo calf using a technique superior to the one used in cloning 'Dolly' -- the sheep.

In a statement, scientists of the Animal Biotechnology Centre at the Karnal-based NDRI said "The hand-guided cloning technique was an advanced modification of the conventional cloning technique used in cloning Dolly."

The buffalo calf was born on February 6 at the NDRI campus.

"The new technique is less demanding in terms of equipment, time and skill," the statement said.

"Moreover, one of the biggest advantages of the new technique is that the calf of desired sex can be obtained," said the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, which administers the NDRI.

The scientists involved in the cloning are hopeful that the new technique would lead to a new era in animal science for faster multiplication of superior germ plasm.

Congratulating the team, ICAR Director General Mangala Rai said that the new technology would help immensely in facing the challenge of increasing demand of milk in view of the growing population in the country.

Commenting on the successful cloning of buffalo calf, NDRI's Director A K Srivastava said, "In India, we have the largest population of buffaloes in the world. However, the percentage of elite animals is very low and there is an urgent need to enhance the population of these buffaloes".

The cloning of the buffalo calf was done by a team of six scientists -- S K Singla, R S Manik, M S Chauhan, P Palta, R A Shah and A George.

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