The world's first pashmina goat clone, produced in Kashmir a week ago, has been named Noori, an Arabic word referring to light, in Srinagar by a group of scientists and researchers.
Noori, a cloned pashmina goat, stands inside a sheep breeding center at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Alastang, some 25 kilometers from Srinagar. Scientists at the University successfully cloned the world's first pashmina goat, prized for its fine wool. AP/Dar Yasin
"The female clone has been named Noori, which means light. We believe his existence has thrown a new light," Dr Majeed Fazili, who was part of the team headed by Dr Riaz Ahmad Shah.
Shah is an associate professor with the Centre of Animal Biotechnology at Sher-i-Kashmir Agriculture University for Science and technology (SKAUST).
Funded by World Bank, the clone project was a jointly worked by SKAUST and Karnal-based National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI).
"Noori has gained weight. From 1.3 kg at the time of birth on March 9, it's 5 kg. She is healthy and was allowed to be part of more than two dozen pashmina goats assembled at Alastaingh laboratory for the purpose," said Dr Fazili.
Noori took two years of scientific research. "It took two years for standardisation of the technique," said Dr Shah.
The clone has come as good news for fine fiber-producing pashmina goats, which are only spotted at an altitude of 14,000 feet in Ladakh, the coldest region of the state.
"With Noori there is hope that pashmina can be yielded in lower altitude like Kashmir valley," said Dr Fazili.
The valley owes its fame, besides natural beauty, to famed fine wool of pashmina, gathered from mountainous of Ladakh after the goat sheds its wool as a natural process.
The goat survives minus 40 degree Celsius temperature at an altitude of 14,000 feet. In spring, the animal sheds its fiber, called soft pashm, six times finer than human hair. The fiber is used to spun famous kashmiri shawls, scarves, and stoles.
The world first animal clone Dolly, a sheep, was created on 5 July 1996. It survived for seven years.