An arctic wolf has been cloned for the first time by a Beijing-based gene company that took a donor cell from a wild female arctic wolf and combined it with an embryo that was cultured inside a beagle, which shares genetic ancestry with ancient wolves to ensure the process was successful.
The pup, named Maya, was born in June but Singogen Biotechnology waited to announce her birth until she was 100 days old in hopes the clone would be healthy, and it is.
Arctic wolves aren’t endangered like other breeds, but Singogen hopes to use this process to save other endangered species.
Although a scientific breakthrough, the cloning of animals has sparked controversy, as activists claim the animals involved suffer from the surgeries needed to obtain donor cells and transfer embryos.
Maya was born in June, but the company waited 100 days to show her to the world and make sure she was healthy
Another argument against the process that some see producing animals by cloning is whether this technique violates a moral prohibition, such as people “playing God” by producing embryos without using fertilization.
The other side of the argument believes that cloning animals is a way to save species from the brink of extinction.
Anyway, Maya is considered a milestone for the application of cloning technology.
She was created using the same technique behind Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal in Scotland in 1996, which is called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Dolly, however, was euthanized at the age of six when it was discovered she had a tumor in her lung.
At present, Maya is said to be in good health and exhibits the behavior of a traditional arctic wolf wolf.
The pup was born in a process that took a donor cell from a wild female arctic wolf and combined it with an embryo that was grown inside a beagle, which shares genetic ancestry with elders. wolves to ensure the success of the process.
Sinogene Biotechnology General Manager Mi Jidong told the world times: ‘We started research cooperation with Harbin Polarland on arctic wolf cloning in 2020.
“After two years of hard work, the arctic wolf has been successfully cloned. This is the first such case in the world.
The company embarked on this quest by building 137 new embryos from enucleated oocytes (the process of extracting a cell’s nucleus), which is a cell in an ovary, and somatic cells, followed by transfer of 85 embryos in the womb of seven beagles – and one born Maya.
The genetics company behind the project wants to research how to preserve animals that are more at risk than Maya’s counterparts.
However, they still have a long way to go. “It’s relatively easier to clone dogs and cats,” Jidong said.
We will continue to work in this area. In the next step, we will be able to clone rare wild animals other than canines or cats… and it will be more difficult.
But some members of the scientific community have expressed concern, particularly about the health of cloned animals and how cloning will affect biodiversity.
Maya, for her part, is destined to spend the rest of her life in captivity due to her lack of socialization.
She was created using the same technique behind Dolly the sheep (pictured), the first mammal, cloned in Scotland in 1996, which is called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Dolly, however, was euthanized aged six when it was discovered she had a tumor in her lung
The genetics company behind the project wants to research how to preserve animals that are more at risk than Maya’s counterparts
Animal cloning has been the holy grail for scientists since before Dolly, but it is now becoming a means of reviving species that have since disappeared from Earth.
In March, scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz announced that they had sequenced the entire genome of the dodo bird for the first time.
The three-foot-tall flightless dodo was wiped out in the 17th century, just 100 years after it was discovered on Mauritius.
And in the same month, it was announced that researchers at the University of Melbourne were working to bring the Tasmanian tiger back to life by recreating the extinct species in hopes it could be reintroduced into the wild.
The lab will develop technologies that could achieve the deextinction of the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger.
Scientists have already sequenced the thylacine genome, which provided a blueprint for “how to essentially build a thylacine,” said Andrew Pask, head of the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research Lab.
This embryo would then be transferred to a host surrogate, such as a dunnart or Tasmanian devil.