This is what we might call using science for a good cause. For the first time ever, the scientist has cloned the rarest and endangered Przewalski’s horse.
The scientists used cells extracted from a strong stallion about 40 years ago which were safely stored frozen at San Diego’s Frozen zoo facility.
The cells were coupled with a mare’s egg. The egg’s nucleus of a mare was removed to maintain the purity of the Przewalski species, and the result was the world’s 1st cloned Przewalski’s horse.
This cloned horse milestone was achieved by the San Diego Zoo Global joining hands with Revive & Restore, a California conservation group, and ViaGen Equine, a company based in Texas.
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This cloned horse is a great accomplishment of San Diego Zoo that is working hard to reintroduce the Asiatic wild horse also known as the Mongolian wild horse that is said to have gone extinct in the wild and only a couple of thousands remaining in zoos and wildlife habitats.
“This new Przewalski’s colt was born fully healthy and reproductively normal,” said Shawn Walker, chief science officer at ViaGen Equine in a report.
This cloned horse born in August is named Kurt in remembrance of Kurt Benirschke, one of the founders of San Diego Frozen Zoo.
Cloned horse ‘Kurt’ was born in a Texas Veterinary facility and will live there with his mother until he matures. Eventually, he will be introduced to San Diego Zoo’s Przewalski’s horse population.
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“This colt is expected to be one of the most genetically important individuals of his species. We are hopeful that he will bring back genetic variation important for the future of the Przewalski’s horse population,” said Bob Wiese, chief life science officer at San Diego Zoo.
This cloned horse – Kurt will be a beam for the hope to restore the wild population of Przewalski’s horse.
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Biology Conservation Institute, before the last century, these ponies roamed throughout Europe and Asia.
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But due to the human encroachment of land, they were driven out of Europe and parts of Asia like the Gobi desert. Today, except in zoos, they only remain in retroduction regions in China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
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According to the conservation Institute, these species are the only remaining truly wild horses in the world.
The herds of horses that roam the free lands of North America and Australia aren’t considered as the true wild since they are the descendants of domesticated horses that escaped from captivity.
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