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8 cows to be surrogate mothers to promote genetically-superior indigenous breeds

Eight cows were impregnated in Ganganagar six months ago by the Rajasthan Gopalan department in a bid to promote genetically superior indigenous cow breeds.

jaipur Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:29 IST
Manoj Ahuja
Manoj Ahuja
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
surrogate,cow,indigenous
The experiment was done with eggs and semen of indigenous Sahiwal breed (Photo: Rajasthan Gopalan department)

Come October, and Rajasthan will welcome calves of superior indigenous breed, the first in the state to be born through surrogacy.

Eight cows were impregnated in Ganganagar six months ago by the Rajasthan Gopalan department in a bid to promote genetically superior indigenous cow breeds.

On Sunday, a dairy farmer in Indapur near Pune became the proud owner of the first calf born through surrogacy or In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) technology carried out in a mobile laboratory.

The experiment was done with eggs and semen of indigenous Sahiwal breed, Gopalan department additional director, Dr Lal Singh told HT. Sahiwal is a breed of zebu cattle, primarily used in dairy production. The breed originated from Sahiwal district of Punjab province (now in Pakistan) in undivided India.

“The next round of experiment will be carried out using Gir breed,” Dr Singh said.

“In Ganganagar, eggs of four donor cows were used and embryos were selected after a qualitative analysis to impregnate eight cows. Mobile labs were used to ensure the process takes place at the doorstep of the recipient cows,” Dr Singh said.

The eggs taken from the Sahiwal cow were kept in a special incubator for 24 hours and then the fertilisation process began with the semen collected from a Sahiwal bull. After seven days, the zygote or the embryo thus formed was transferred to the recipient cow, depending upon its oestrus cycle to ensure that its body accepts it as its own embryo, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy.

“The surrogate process also enables birth of more number of superior breed animals in a year. While the recipient cow could be an inferior breed, when the zygote of superior breed has been transplanted, it will give birth to a calf of superior breed,” Dr Singh said. The government has also started registration of superior breed bulls and will carry out castration of inferior bulls.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 23:26 IST