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Cloned buffalo calf dies of pneumonia

Source: PTI
February 12, 2009 18:43 IST
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Indian scientists said on Thursday that they have cloned the world's first buffalo, but the calf died of pneumonia within a week of its birth.

The calf, which was born on February 6 and was yet to be named, died late on Wednesday night, A K Srivastava, Director of the National Dairy Research Institute, told PTI from Karnal.

The buffalo calf, the first to be produced in the world, was cloned using a simpler but advanced version of a technique employed in producing 'Dolly' - the sheep that became the first mammal to be cloned.

The infection was caused due to complications at the time of delivery, he said, but added that the cloning technique itself was not faulty.

Dolly, which was cloned from an adult cell in 1996 and revealed to the world seven months later, was put down in 2003 following
a lung disease.

Srivastava said the institute was in the process of producing two more clones with cell taken from female buffaloes and the delivery is set for May and June.

The 'handguided cloning technique' perfected by the NDRI scientists would allow production of calf of the desired sex, he said.

Although the institute had announced the cloning of the buffalo through a statement, it did not mention that the calf had died on Wednesday night.

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 germplasm.

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 growing population in the country.

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