Move Over, Dolly: Buffalo Is the Latest Animal to Be Cloned

By Allison Bond | June 8, 2009 11:52 am

buffaloBuffalo might have been driven almost to extinction by overeager Americans, but now we have a chance to redeem ourselves—by genetically engineering new ones. Thanks to a team of scientists in India, we can add buffalo to the list of animals that have been cloned—including a camel, a wolf and, of course, the legendary sheep.

Scientists at India’s National Dairy Research Institute, in the Indian state of Haryana, produced the first cloned buffalo back in February, using DNA from the ear of an adult female—though unfortunately, it died of pneumonia soon after its birth. Now, they’ve tried again, resulting in a 95-pound female calf named Garima. She got her start from fetal tissue, according to a report released yesterday from India’s National Dairy Research Institute. The team also used a cloning technique that allowed them to choose the gender of the calf.

Scientists say that being able to clone buffaloes could make it easier to breed “elite” animals; in other words, they could increase the number of animals with desirable traits, such as size and temperament. Maybe cloning could yield heartier buffalo that are less prone to extinction—although that’s hardly a problem in India, which has the world’s largest buffalo population.  It seems more likely that the nation, which uses buffalo to produce meat and milk, would engineer the animals to produce tastier food.

Related Content:
Discoblog: “The Cloned Child is Coming”: Doctor Claims He’s On the Verge
Discoblog: To Satisfy Lust for Truffles, The French Will Try to Clone Them
Discoblog: Biotech Company Selects World’s Worthiest Dog, and Wants to Clone It

Image: flickr / mandj8

MORE ABOUT: buffalo, cloning, India
  • Chris

    what beautiful, delicious beasts, the buffalo!

  • Scholarly One

    The superficial pragmatic part in keeping food sources around is cool, the absence of the real reason buffalo are dwindling is not cool. I want research done on the clone’s temperament vs. the original’s temperament. Doesn’t Temperament=Personality=The Essence of that Life form. If the uniqueness of that particular life is also copied, what gene holds that uniqueness?

  • Sheev

    The buffalo that the NDRI in India is not the buffalo found in the Americas, its the water buffalo from whose milk mozzarella cheese is made.

  • neil

    The “buffalo” nearly driven to extinction in North America were actually bison (Bison bison) while the buffalo cloned in India are true buffalo (a.k.a. domestic water buffalo) (Bubalus bubalis). Unfortunately, cloning water buffalo is not going to “redeem” the near extinction of American bison, or for that matter European bison which are in even worse shape.

  • Dexter

    The picture is misleading. Agree with Sheev and neil/

  • Allison Bond

    Hi, this is Allison, the author of the post. Thanks for pointing out the difference between American and Indian buffalo. The animal pictured above is, indeed, an American buffalo. While most buffalo in India are water buffalo, we do not have confirmation as to whether the cloned buffalo was of the water variety. We will be sure to update the post if we receive further information.

  • neil

    The picture that accompanies the Yahoo! news story–identified as Garima, the cloned buffalo–clearly shows that the animal is Bubalus, not Bison. Also the fact that the research was conducted by the National Dairy Research Institute strongly suggests that the cloned animal was a water buffalo, which is a domesticated dairy animal, rather than a bison which are raised for meat but not milk.

  • Chae Dorantes

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