New ‘hand-guided cloning technique'

A cloned buffalo calf was born at the Karnal-based National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) on Sunday, where two calves were cloned a year ago, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) announced here on Monday.

The buffalo calf, named Garima-II, was born through the new and advanced ‘hand-guided cloning technique'.

It weighs 32 kg and is apparently normal and healthy.

“This cloned buffalo calf is different from the earlier clone calf because, in this case, the used donor cell was an embryonic cell,” said NDRI Director A.K. Srivastava in a press statement.

Faster multiplication

According to him, the technology could go a long way in facilitating faster multiplication of superior milch buffaloes in the country.

“There is an acute shortage of good bulls in the country. The technology of cloning will decrease the gap between supply and demand by breeding the bulls in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Dr. Srivastava said that although the world's largest population of buffaloes was in India, and it contributed about 55 per cent to the total milk production in the country, the percentage of elite buffaloes was low.

Dr. Srivastava and his team of scientists, including M.S. Chauhan, S.K. Singla, R.S. Manik, Shiv Prasad and Aman George, feel that embryonic stem cells have a better cloning ability as compared to somatic cells (used in earlier cloning) that are lineage committed.

The world's first buffalo calf through the ‘hand-guided cloning technique' developed by the NDRI was born on February 6 last, but it could not survive beyond five days.

The second cloned calf, Garima-I, was born on June 6, 2009. It survived and is reportedly healthy.

The new calf was developed from embryos that were cultured and grown in a laboratory and then transferred to recipient buffalo.

It was born in a Caesarean operation carried out by a team of doctors from the NDRI and Chaudhary Charan Singh Agricultural University, Hisar.

New era

Congratulating the team, ICAR Director-General S. Ayyappan said the new technology of hand-guided cloning of buffaloes may lead to a “new era in faster multiplication of elite germplasm to face the challenges of increasing demands of milk in view of the ever-growing human population”.

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