Beijing Sep 30 – Maya is the world’s first cloned arctic wolf. Chinese biotech company Sinogene was responsible for cloning an animal classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Chinese state media reported.
The cloning was announced by the company in mid-September, 100 days after the animal was born.
According to those responsible for the project, Maya is in good health at a company laboratory in eastern China’s Jiangsu province.
The birth of the world’s first cloned wild arctic wolf marks a milestone in the application of cloning technology, which is of great importance for the conservation of rare and endangered animals and biodiversity, say some experts.
“To save the endangered animal, we started research cooperation with Harbin Polarland (a theme park in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province) on arctic wolf cloning in 2020,” Mi Jidong, general manager of Beijing-based Sinogene, told a press conference.
“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.
The donor cell was obtained from a skin sample of a female arctic wolf of Canadian origin, also known as Maya, a company spokesman told BBC Mundo.
Meanwhile, the oocyte — female gametes produced in the ovaries — came from a bitch whose breed was not specified, and the pregnancy was developed from a bitch of the beagle breed, said Sinogene Deputy Director Zhao Jianping.
According to the Global Times, scientists implanted a total of 85 embryos in the wombs of seven female beagles, Zhao said.
The expert added that the choice of a female to conceive the clone was due to the genetic similarities between the two species.
Maya is eventually relocated to Harbon Polarland, where she will initially not join the other arctic wolves living there, as she may not adapt to coexisting in a pack.
(Text and photos: Cubadebate with information from BBC)
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