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US researchers announce the world's first cloned deer

Experts have cloned a white-tailed deer in a breakthrough that may help conserve the endangered deer species.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2004 13:41 IST

US researchers have carried out the first successful cloning of a white-tailed deer in a "breakthrough" that could be instrumental in conserving endangered deer species.

The cloned animal -- a fawn, named "Dewey", -- was born to a surrogate mother several months ago, but was only certified as a genetic clone of a donor through a recent DNA analysis, researchers at Texas A and M University said on Monday.

"Dewey is developing normally for a fawn his age and appears healthy," said Mark Westhusin, associate professor with the university's college of veterinary medicine and lead investigator on the project.

Dewey is thought to be the first such deer clone and could ultimately be useful in conserving endangered deer species including the Key West deer of Florida, researchers said.

White-tailed deer are the most common, wide-spread big game animal in North America, but cloning could be used to preserve the genetics of superior animals who have died of natural causes or have been hunted, the researchers suggested.

The university has previously cloned a disease-resistant Angus bull, and the first Brahma bull, a Boer goat, pigs and a cat.

First Published: Feb 13, 2004 13:41 IST