40-Year-Old Skin Cells Used to Clone Przewalski’s Foal

Conservationists report that the Przewalski’s horse is extinct in the wild, and only an estimated 2,000 remain in zoos and reserves. (Tanya Durrant / Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0)

Cloning Will Save the Last Living Truly ‘Wild’ Horse

Health Editor’s Note: Przewalski’s horse is extinct in the wild with only a few in zoos or reserves. A foal has been cloned from stallion cells which have been frozen for 40 years. The stallion cells were fused with an egg of a female domestic horse, aka Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned, the egg’s nucleus was removed with all its DNA so the foal is the same genetic makeup of the father.

In hopes of using the stallion’s DNA to breed more Przewalski’s horses, researchers at the San Diego Zoo Global froze a sample of his skin cells in their Frozen Zoo, a menagerie of 10,000 cell lines from an estimated 1,100 species and subspecies.

The 40 year old cells carry some different DNA markers than the 12 wild ancestors that currently living Przewalski’s horses have descended from. The DNA from the cloned foal will add genetic diversity to help to restore the species. This is an exciting thing!….Carol 



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