In a miracle of science, cloned buffalo Garima-2 delivered a female calf on Friday afternoon at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) here.
Signalling a major achievement in the world of biotechnology, Mahima the calf was born through natural delivery at 1.51pm. Its birth weight of 32 kg is regular by all standards.
Mahima started suckling within half-an-hour of birth and the mother also was normal. "It's for the first time in the world that an animal cloned by a 'hand-guided technology' has delivered a calf," said the NDRI director, AK Srivastava. "It's a major success."
The NDRI scientists had improved two generations of buffalo, and the research would give the world a better quality of milch cattle, said Srivastava. Born on August 22, 2010, Garima-2 attained early sexual maturity at 19 months (the normal for a buffalo is 28 months). World's only surviving cloned buffalo, Garima-2 also had a birth weight of 32 kg.
On March 27 last year, Garima-2 was impregnated with frozen-thawed semen of a progeny-tested bull of the NDRI. The gestation was maintained scientifically and remained normal through delivering a calf on Friday afternoon.
China claimed to have experimented where cloned animals had given birth but not much is known officially about it, said the NDRI director. "Often doubts are cast on the Chinese claims. Nowhere else in the world, scientists are ever able to get a clone impregnated and make it deliver."