China Has Cloned An Arctic Wolf For The Very First Time In History
For the first time after multiple trials over multiple decades, a biotech company in China has been finally able to clone an Arctic wolf. Now, this is quite monumental in quite a lot of ways.
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Firstly, the cloning of even a small animal like the wolf is a significant milestone in STEM research. And secondly, the fact that cloning an animal has been a success could indicate that other endangered animals would get a new lease on life. The cloned Arctic wolf is a female and has been named ‘Maya’. She was born on the 10th of June in a research facility in Beijing. But the company took some time before sharing its developments in front of the media. Insights from Sinogene Biotechnologies– the company behind this development- highlight that the wolf pup is quite happy and healthy.
This Arctic wolf was cloned by scientists after they managed to take the DNA from the skin sample of another wolf that lived in Harbin Polarland. For those who are unaware, this is quite a controversial amusement park in China that also houses Polar bears. The DNA was then inserted into the egg cell of a female dog that was in heat- with them managing to find a denucleated egg cell. After this, scientists denominated a beagle as a surrogate mother where the embryo was gestated in the womb till birth.
Sinogene Technologies Has Managed To Clone An Arctic Wolf- The First Of Many Breakthroughs
The entire process is referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer. This is actually the same process that led to the cloning of Dolly the Sheep- all the way back in 1996. Ever since that massive breakthrough in the field of science, several other mammal species have gone through the process of cloning over the decades. The animals to be cloned include deer, cat, dog, mule, horse, ox, rat, and rabbit. This technique was also used in the cloning of an ibex, also known as the bucardo. Interestingly, this is still the lone example of an extinct animal being resurrected. Unfortunately, the Ibex didn’t survive long.
After the success of cloning the first Arctic wolf, the biotech company will be looking toward cloning another wolf. The General Manager of Sinogene, Mi Jidong, mentioned that this development was a testament to their research collaboration with Harbin Polarland. It was also their breakthrough attempt in protecting the endangered, as well as the wild animals. The project took 2 years to complete, but the company would be patting itself on the back for a job well done.
The Arctic wolf is a minor subspecies of the famed grey wolf. Popularized in shows like the Game of Thrones, this animal is usually found in the tundra region of northern Canada. This wolf is considerably smaller than the other wolf variants. It also has white fur, a narrower skull, and is quite adept at camouflaging in the heavy snow.
Image Credits: Sinogene