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Cloned Cattle Imperative for India's Food Needs

Science & Tech  (tags: business, concept, design, GeneticEngineering, health, humans, investigation, scientists, study, cloning, crimes, dairy cattle, milk, milk products )

- 3635 days ago -
A buffalo clone, Garima, was presented to the world last week at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Haryana). This was the third live cloned buffalo, the first having lived only a few days and the second being aborted. Cloning is to create


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cowboss a (68)
Friday July 10, 2009, 2:16 pm
A buffalo clone, Garima, was presented to the world last week at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Haryana). This was the third live cloned buffalo, the first having lived only a few days and the second being aborted.

Cloning is to create genetically similar organism from a single parent without sexual reproduction. Simply, the clone of a female will be a female with genetic similarity to her mother and the clone of a male will be a male with genetic similarity to his father.

Cloning is widely prevalent in botanical research but animal cloning is relatively new. Cloning has attracted a lot of attention, both as a branch of science and an ethical issue, after Dr Ian Wilmot of Roslyn Institute, London, produced first sheep clone, Dolly, in 1996. Animal cloning experiments are going on in a few countries such as the UK, the USA, South Korea, China and India. Though India joined slightly late, it has achieved significant successes in cloning in recent years.

So, when India successfully bred two buffaloes in a series, using cloning, it did not come as a surprise, but it did open doors for using animal cloning as a viable method of breeding. The National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) scientists this time used a new and advanced 'hand-guided cloning technique' which is an advanced modification of the conventional cloning technique.

India is the world's largest milk producer with 104.9 million tonnes per year. Milk production in India is growing at 4% per year, and at present India contributes 15% of the total global milk production. Out of this, 55% is contributed by buffalo. Though per capita availability of milk in India has increased from 120 grams in 1960 to 241 grams per day in 2005-2006, demand for milk is increasing day by day owing to increase in population and individual income. In 2008 it was 104.9 million tonnes which has already been achieved. The projected milk demand in India by 2010, 2015 and 2020 will be 120, 140 and 170 million tonnes.

India has the largest cattle and buffalo population in the world, to the tune of about 180 million and 85 million respectively. This, more than being a productive resource, is causing huge pressure on our limited fodder reserves. Already there is a shortage of 30% fodder for domestic animals. The land for grazing and fodder production which is only 9% of total agriculture land, is getting constricted day by day. In this situation, the only solution to increase our dairy production, is to scientifically control the population of animals and upgrade them for better quality and more quantity of milk and meat per animal.

The role of cloning is imperative in India. Indian scientists have been using scientific techniques to raise dairy production. The breed improvement programme for the production of elite breeds of cattle and buffaloes started in as early as 1909 when first cross-bred cow named 'Jill', was produced in the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry, Bangalore, by crossing Ayrshire with the local Haryana breed. Since then many elite milk and meat-giving crossbreeds of cows and buffaloes have been produced. India has also achieved Frozen Semen Technology so that germplasm of elite breeds could be stored for long and used later.

Cloning of buffalo and other milch animals has the potential to multiply elite breed of buffaloes and cattle without loss of parental traits. It may also prove to be a very fast way of creating new breeds. Other advantage of this technique will be to save many endangered species of domestic and wild animals on the verge of extinction. In the coming days cloning may become a very significant tool for improving of India's animal stock and germplasm conservation. It may prove a boon for the dairy sector.

Jamie L (195)
Friday July 10, 2009, 4:22 pm
Sorry... Don't like it... Thanks Cowboss!

Joycey B (750)
Friday July 10, 2009, 5:25 pm
I don't believe in cloning. Noted with thanks Cowboss.

John Farnham (52)
Friday July 10, 2009, 9:32 pm
Loss of biodiversity and consequent increased vulnerability to pests and likelihood of catastrophic dieoff of stock is my first reaction, Cowboss.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 11, 2009, 1:21 am
Hmmm. In principle I am quite opposed to cloning. However a little voice in me wonders if it could be a way to try to help species in great danger (eg local populations so small viable reproduction is at risk) increase in numbers back to levels at which they could carry on alone with natural reproduction. On the other hand the gene pool loss would still be considerable since cloning reproduces the same genetic makeup and so it probably would not work anyway unless there were enough different animals. Plus I'm not sure about the results of offspring of cloned animals as I have not seen any studies on this. Just a few thoughts. Thanks cowboss.

cecily w (0)
Saturday July 11, 2009, 3:34 am
A vegan diet is much more efficient and meat and dairy are not true "needs" for any population. But, I am not opposed to cloning for other (very limited) purposes. Unfortunately, human ethical development (in general) has not kept up with human ingenuity.

Karen S (106)
Saturday July 11, 2009, 4:46 am
I am very much against this on an ethical basis. Cloning animals is not a natural process. The article seems to rationalize it as valid because plants are being cloned. While this is true, a lot of plants are capable of cloning themselves without our help.

Also it seems like just one more way to commoditize farm animals. The majority of people in North America have become quite detached from farm animals over the past few decades. Cloning just seems to put one more degree of separation between people and farm animals.

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Saturday July 11, 2009, 10:30 am
Indian cooking is already the perfectly balanced vegetarian diet and the population of India has thrived on legumes for centuries The mad scientists are looking for a rationale for the unethical experiments they want to do in the first place and trying to be financed in doing so.

sue M (184)
Saturday July 11, 2009, 11:31 pm
It is another Monsanto dream to get rich quick and make the masses sick and deformed so their partners in crime Big Pharma cn make more money coming up with new drugs.
It has got to be stopped!

Penelope P (222)
Sunday July 12, 2009, 6:39 pm
Fascinating-milk and meat -wasn't so long ago troops mutied in India and killed off a fair amount of Brits -all because they had been called on to use the fat from these animals to grease their guns.The cow was very sacred and not to be killed. Amazing what globalism can do.
Love to know how long it will be before India supplements it's income from substandard immitation drugs by add ing something in the line of cheap human cloning.

Tierney G (381)
Sunday July 12, 2009, 6:56 pm
Yes cloning-- I will never trust it. I have seen the differences and flaws that occur in orchid cloning. In fact a very famous orchid now used in breeding in Tawain, created a wild harlequin pattern on the flowers and on most of its offspring. Some flowers being very deformed. Many are weak and die rapidly. Not good!! Though those harlequins are some of my favorites!!! Who knows???
Thanks Cowboss

mary f (200)
Monday July 13, 2009, 3:49 am
i don't agree with cloning thanks cowboss

Mandi T (367)
Monday July 13, 2009, 12:30 pm
I'm not for cloning. Not right now anyway
Tx Cowwboss

Valerie S (70)
Tuesday July 14, 2009, 7:09 am
I don't think cloning animals is a good idea. What is going on with this control of our food supplies? I don't like it one bit. Thanks for sharing Cowboss!
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