India’s first cloned Ganga cow, NDRI scientists raise hopes for cross-breeding
The first clone was made in 2009
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Dr. Himanshu Pathak has said that ‘Ganga’ weighed 32 kg at the time of birth. She has passed physical, genetic and other tests. But it has taken many years for scientists to reach this level. In February 2009, ICAR and NDRI made history with the world’s first cloned buffalo calf, Samarupa, but the calf died after 5 days due to a lung infection. After which India cloned 26 other animals, with cow cloning taking the longest. It took longer due to religious sensitivities towards cows. Former Director of NDRI Dr. MS Chauhan said that for buffaloes we can contact slaughterhouses and obtain oocytes, but this cannot be done for cows.
Can be cloned without damage
In the year 2018, scientists learned about a non-invasive technique called ovum pick-up (OPU). The use of which does not cause any harm to the cow and the oocytes can be processed without separate work. Chouhan said that, just like when a cow is registered, we check by punching the ear of the cow, in the same way, the cells are extracted using this technique. NDRI Senior Scientist Dr. Naresh Selokar says that the animal is not harmed. The technique was studied for some time and approval was applied for before the technique could be used. After which the project to clone ‘Ganga’ was launched in the year 2021.
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How is cloning done?
For cloning, a scientist changes the DNA structure of an oocyte and then matures it into an embryo. Which determines what qualities the animal will have. Our only aim is that these calves are able to withstand harsh weather conditions and give more milk. The technique will be scaled up and more calf clones will be created, NDRI claimed. A scientific policy presentation will also be made to pave the way for commercial cloning in India.
Why Gir cow was chosen?
Gir, Sahiwal and Red Sindhi are mainly the highest milk yielding animals. The increasing mechanization of agriculture after the Green Revolution made this itself unconstitutional. For this reason, farmers tried crossbreeding for higher milk production, but it caused many diseases to the animals. Gir is considered the best breed, being the strongest. For this reason this cow was selected for cloning.
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Tags: Cloning, Cow, Science