Cheetah slows down, gives rabbit a cloning chance
IN THE fabled race between the tortoise and the rabbit, the latter lost. But rabbit has edged past the fastest animal on earth ? cheetah ? after the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad failed to get a cheetah from Iran for cloning in India. Instead, the laboratory of Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) has now taken up rabbit cloning on top priority.india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 01:17 IST
IN THE fabled race between the tortoise and the rabbit, the latter lost. But rabbit has edged past the fastest animal on earth — cheetah — after the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad failed to get a cheetah from Iran for cloning in India. Instead, the laboratory of Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) has now taken up rabbit cloning on top priority.
“The number of rabbits need to be increased from a few hundreds to thousands,” said director of the institute Prof Lalji Singh.
He was in the city to deliver a lecture at the ongoing symposium on Gene to Genome: Environment and Chemical Interaction at the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC) auditorium on Wednesday.
Prof Singh said two veterinarians were already on the job for studying the cloning process of rabbits. He said the doctors had successfully replaced nucleus from another cell in the egg. However, he said there were many more procedures that had to be adopted before actually cloning a rabbit.
Prof Singh said work would be in full swing after the completion of a wildlife research laboratory in Aktapur village of Andhra Pradesh. “The laboratory would formally be inaugurated in May or June,” he added. The main objective of the laboratory would be to create a gene pool for lions, tigers, leopards and non-human primates, and birds so as to conserve the wildlife as many of them were on the verge of extinction, he said.
On the project on cloning cheetah, he said efforts were on to get one from Africa. “A team of experts had recently visited Hyderabad to take stock of the situation,” he added.
Earlier, Prof Singh delivered a lecture in the first technical session on What makes us human?
Prof Singh said although our primate relatives split from our common ancestors millions of years ago, their genomes could help solve the mysteries about our own evolution and medical problems. They could also give us insights into how evolution worked and how new genes and species were formed. Genome of chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, and our genome were 98.8 per cent identical, he said adding, “We shared a common ancestor some 6 million years.”.
The genome of common chimpanzee differs from human in terms of nucleotide substitutions by 1.23 per cent.