For the first time in the world, scientists have managed to clone a female Murrah calf from the somatic cells obtained from the semen of a cloned bull.Scientists at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal cloned the calf in March, 2015.
NDRI director AK Srivastava on Thursday said the experiment confirmed that cloned animals could successfully complete a reproductive cycle.
“A male calf Shresth was cloned from somatic cells of an elite bull in the institute on August 26, 2010. During this period, Shresth attained maturity and passed all heath parameters of an animal born naturally. Its semen was used for artificial insemination (AI) with a Murrah buffalo that was born naturally,” he said.
Srivastava said that at least five more buffaloes were expected to deliver calves from Shresth’s semen in the next few months.
The female calf, that is yet to be named, was born in March this year but was not publicised.
Srivastava said there was an acute shortage of outstanding bulls and the technology of hand guided cloning can decrease this gap and supply the elite bulls in the shortest possible time.
“Birth of a calf from a cloned animal is a rare feat and the NDRI scientists have once again proved their mettle in the world of animal cloning. As the animal was under observation of scientists and health experts, its birth details were held back,” he said while adding that the calf had excelled in all health and growth parameters.
NDRI has been a pioneer in the field of animal cloning.
In July of last year, scientists at the institute ‘created’ a male calf by using cells from the frozen semen of a Murrah bull that died more than a decade ago.
NDRI claims it to be the world’s first clone born using somatic cells obtained from the semen.
The male calf, named Rajat, was born on July 23 through the 'hand-guided cloning technique', developed by the NDRI scientists.“It is a high quality bull and its success would help create a superior germplasm,” said the NDRI director.