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Scientist jolly over attempting a "Dolly" in India
Saturday, 14 February, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
If this succeeds it may begin a second chapter of dairy revolution for India pedalling on the success of Operation Flood. This is a vote of confidence given by the scientists of Animal Biotechnology Centre, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, to their latest "Handguided Cloning Technique" for buffaloes.

It is the first calf to be born in the world through this technique. The world's first cloned buffalo was born in 2005 in China.

The calf cloned by the scientists was born on February 6 and survived birth complications to live for a few days before it died of lung infection. The first attempt was indeed a successful one and encouraged the scientists to attempt a second clone, the delivery date for which is scheduled for May.

The Handguided Cloning Technique is simpler and is an advanced modification of the "Conventional Cloning Technique" which was used for the production of the cloned sheep "Dolly". The technique is claimed to be more cost effective if implemented when 30-40 embroys are involved.

As opposed to the conventional technique which required sophisticated and expensive equipments like micromanipulators, this technique required less equipment, time and skills and is relatively simple to follow.

In this cloning technique oocytes isolated from abattoir ovaries were matured in vitro, denuded, treated with an enzyme to digest the zona and then enucleated with the help of handheld fine blade. Then somatic cell from the ear of a donor buffalo was propagated to be used as donor-nuclei. Then the enucleated oocytes and donor-nuclei were electro fused, cultured, grown in the laboratory and the resultant embryos were transferred to recipient buffaloes for the production of the calf of desired gender.

One of the biggest advantages of this technique is that the calf of desired sex can be obtained and so the population of male to female can be easily managed.

With the country facing shortage of bulls, this technology can ensure supply of elite bulls in the shortest possible time, according to ICAR. India has got 50% of the world's buffalo population. This technology could well help increase the number of efficient buffaloes in the country.

The scientists involved in the project were Dr S K Singla, Dr R S Manik, Dr M S Chauhan, Dr P Palta, Dr R A Shah and A George and the jubilant team is hopeful that this technique will lead to a new era in animal science for faster multiplication of superior germ plasm.

Dr Mangala Rai, director general, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, congratulated the team and said that new technology of "Handguided Cloning" will go a long way to face the challenge of increasing demand of milk in view of growing human population in the country.

Dr K M Bujarbaruah, deputy director general, animal science, ICAR, also congratulated the team and emphasised that the technology would be handy in coping with the shortage of bulls in the country.
 
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