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China successfully clones kitten for the first time

China successfully clones kitten for the first time

Huang Yu, a Chinese businessman aged 22 years lost his beloved cat, Garlic. But now he has become the pet parent of Garlic II, a clone of late Garlic. Yu took the services of Sinogene, a commercial company involved in pet-cloning that is based in Beijing. It has already cloned over 40 dogs, each of which nearly costs 53,000 US Dollars. The copy cat of Yu which was born on July 21 has the same fur pattern of white and gray as of Garlic. It cost him approximately 35,000 US Dollars. This was the first cat that was successfully cloned by the company.

Yu informed the New York Times that he had buried Garlic, the original cat in the month of January. It died at an age of 2 years because of a UTI. At this moment, he decided to proceed with cloning. But before that, the corpse of Garlic had to be unearthed and kept in the freezer. After that, an employee from Sinogene came and took the sample of DNA. All this work was worth it in the end.

For Yu, Garlic was irreplaceable. He said that since Garlic did not leave anything for later generations, his only choice was to go for cloning. For creating Garlic 2.0, researchers took skin cells from Garlic and then implanted them in the feline eggs. They were able to produce 40 cloned embryos from this process. Chen Benchi, head of the experiment’s team at Sinogene said that the embryos were placed in surrogate cats leading to three pregnancies. In the end, only one made it full term.

Pets have been cloned in other nations such as Britain, South Korea, and the US. However, experts say that the first cloned cat of China is a huge milestone for the commercial cloning sector. This is attracting the private pet owners along with celebrity animal lovers such as Barbra Streisand who paid 50,000 US Dollars for cloning Sammie, her Maltipoo.

An increasing proportion of the customers are young people who have recently passed out of college. Pet cloning helps in meeting the emotional needs of younger people irrespective of the origin of the pets.

Sinogene hopes this technology can be used for cloning the endangered species such as giant pandas or South China tigers. However, this shall take some more time as it is a difficult endeavor. Chen Dayuan, panda expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that it is possible that cats can be surrogates for baby pandas who are smaller than the infant kittens.

Huang was disappointed a bit as the cloned kitten did not have a patch of black fur on its chin which the original cat had. However, he accepted it as every technology has some limitations.

Yuka Woolly Mammoth

Japanese scientists revived cell parts of extinct Woolly Mammoth

A team of Japanese scientists has woken up cells of Woolly Mammoth, that walked on earth 28,000 years ago. Researchers extracted bone marrow and muscle tissue from the carcass of a mammoth named Yuka, about 3.5-meter-long female who was lain frozen in Siberian permafrost in 2010.

The team includes researchers from Japanese and Russian universities. They have been working for 20 years on a project to use cloning to revive extinct mammoths using a technique called ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer‘.

“Our work provides a platform to evaluate the biological activities of nuclei in extinct animal species. Ancient species carry invaluable information about the genetic basis of adaptive evolution and factors related to extinction.”, the report read.

Scientists injected cell nuclei from the extinct woolly mammoth’s muscle tissue into mouse ova, in which five out of 43 nuclei were observed to develop signs of biological activities. The biological activities detected in the mouse eggs cells included a type of structural formation that is seen prior to cell division. But the pre-division development stopped before completion in all the ova.

Woolly Mammoth Cell Activity

Red and green dyed proteins around a mammoth cell nucleus (upper right) in a mouse oocyte (Kindai University)

“Yuka’s cell nuclei were more damaged than we thought, and it would be difficult to resurrect a mammoth as things stand. There’s a chance if we can obtain better-preserved nuclei.”, said team member Kei Miyamoto, a lecturer in developmental biology at Kindai University.

Teruhiko Wakayama, a professor in reproductive biology at the University of Yamanashi’s Advanced Biotechnology Center, said: “This can be praised as the first step in research toward the dream of resurrecting extinct ancient animals. I hope they can determine to what extent the DNA was repaired and how much activity there was.”

This finding might not help to resurrect animals of the ice age but might give us a way to understand the species that roamed on earth 28,000 years ago.