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Rabbit beats fastest animal

In the fable, the rabbit lost the race to the tortoise. But the furry animal 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.
By Venugopal Pillai | None, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2006 02:18 AM IST

In the fable, the rabbit lost the race to the tortoise. But the furry animal 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 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.

Singh said two veterinarians were already studying the cloning process of rabbits. He said the doctors had successfully replaced the nucleus from another cell in the egg. However,  there were many more procedures that had to be adopted before actually cloning a rabbit. 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 laboratory would create a gene pool for lions, tigers, leopards, non-human primates, and birds.

On the project on cloning the cheetah, he said efforts were on to get one from Africa.

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