China presents Maya the first cloned arctic wolf Ecoosfera

China presents Maya, the first cloned arctic wolf Ecoosfera

The Chinese biotech company Sinogene presented this First case of cloning a female arctic wolf, a species included in the Endangered Species category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The fact has since sparked much controversy in the genetics community due to an ethical discussion Cloning is frowned upon unless it is used for endangered species.

Arctic Mayan she-wolf

That little arctic wolf named MayaShe was introduced to Chinese state media a hundred days after her birth. According to Sinogene Project officials, the pup is in good health and lives at the company’s laboratory, located in east China’s Jiangsu province.


According to the Sinogene company itself, Maya’s case marks a milestone in the application of cloning technology as a means of species conservation. Although not the entire scientific community agrees with the Chinese biotech company.

“In order to save the endangered animal, we started a research cooperation with Harbin Polarland [un parque temático en la provincia de Heilongjiang] about arctic wolf cloning in 2020,” said Mi Jidong, general manager of Sinogene. “After two years of painstaking efforts, the arctic wolf has been successfully cloned. It’s the first case of its kind in the world,” he added.


cloning process

According to Beijing-based biotech company, the The donor cell was obtained from a skin sample of a female arctic wolf of Canadian origin. whose name is also Maya. But the oocyte, which is the germ cell that takes place in reproduction and which could in some ways be called the progenitor of the ovum, was obtained from a bitch whose breed was not disclosed. The pregnancy developed against it in the womb of a beagle dog, This was announced by Zhao Jianping, deputy director of Sinogene.

Overall, this was not an easy process to succeed in cloning 85 embryos in four female beagle bitches. Zhao explained that the choice of breed for pregnancy was due to the genetic similarity between the two species.


As soon as Maya is old enough, she will be transferred harbin polar land, a theme park with animals that have it all faces a number of ethical questions before animal rights defenders.

Ethical debate in the absence of regulation

The scientific community has expressed reservations about the arctic wolf cloning project because, although cloning technology has made tremendous strides, it still is There is no guarantee that cloned animals will not develop health problems inherent in the cloning process.


In addition, many also argue that these types of procedures should be used as a last resort for the conservation of endangered species. The arctic wolf is not primarily one of those species, and moreover, this is not a case of releasing the Mayan she-wolf to her natural habitat, but rather It will be part of a theme park whose ultimate goal is to benefit from animals.

This isn’t the first time China has been embroiled in cloning issues that have drawn criticism around the world. In 2021, Chinese labs created 132 embryos with a human-macaque genetic mix. Given the non-existent regulatory laws for biotechnology and genetic modification, many scientists go to Chinese labs to conduct experiments of this type, an issue that should represent stricter regulatory standards. All this without considering the animal testing that continues to take place in labs that have more than once been branded as animal cruelty.


Photo credit: Sinogene.

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