A Beijing-based genetics company has successfully cloned an arctic wolf in a groundbreaking move that could help conserve endangered species.
26 years after the birth of Dolly the Sheep, Sinogene Biotechnology unveiled the new wolf pup named Maya to the world.
She had been born in June, but the company wanted to wait until she was 100 days old before announcing her to make sure the clone was in good health, reports the Global Times.
Scientists created the pup by taking a donor cell from a wild female arctic wolf imported from Canada and combining it with an embryo bred in a beagle that shares genetic ancestry with adult wolves.
The process, referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer, is the same process that produced Dolly the Sheep in 1996.
Arctic wolves, also known as “white” or “polar wolves,” are not endangered like other wolf breeds because they live in isolation, although Singogen hopes this technique can be used in the future to save other species threatened with extinction .
“The newborn wolf has the same genome as the original wolf, but the cloned wolf did not live with other wolves but with a dog,” Zhao Jianping, deputy general manager of Sinogene, told EuroNews.
“In fact, there is also an early socialization problem in domestic cloned dogs and cats. The earlier the socialization, the more beneficial for their future development,” he added.
Some activists raised concerns about the suffering of animals who need surgery to implant cloned donor cells and embryos.
Others say there is a moral imperative against “playing god” by creating life from artificial sources without fertilization.
Regardless, Maya’s birth is considered a milestone in the application of cloning technology, and Mr Jianping is confident that refining the process could be the only way to save some animal species from extinction.
“We will continue to work in this area,” he added to EuroNews.
“As a next step, we might be cloning rare wild animals other than dogs or cats… and it’s going to be more difficult.”
Although Dolly had to be euthanized at the age of six after she was diagnosed with a lung tumor, Maya is currently showing all the signs of a normal, healthy arctic pup.
Unfortunately, due to her lack of socialization, Maya will likely have to spend her life in captivity, although she is kept in good company by the beagle who gave birth to her and acts as her surrogate mother and playmate.
Maya’s birth continues the life of a wild arctic wolf named Maya, who was introduced from Canada in 2006 and died of old age in 2021.
Another male cloned arctic wolf is expected to be born on Thursday.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, Visit our news page.
Get the top news, feel-good stories, analysis and more
https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/24/worlds-first-cloned-arctic-wolf-born-26-years-after-dolly-the-sheep-17442336/ The world's first cloned arctic wolf, born 26 years after Dolly the sheep