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Scientists in China create world’s first cloned wild Arctic wolf ‘Maya’

  • Published
    21st Sep, 2022

A wild Arctic wolf was successfully cloned for the first time in the world by a Beijing-based gene firm. 

  • Cloned Arctic wolf is the first case of its kind in the world. It is named Maya.
  • The donor cell of the wolf came from the skin sample of a wild female Arctic wolf and its oocyte was taken from a female dog.
  • Maya’s surrogate mother was a beagle, a dog breed.
  • The dog was selected as the surrogate as it shares genetic ancestry with ancient wolves and hence, ensures success in cloning.

About Cloning:

  • The term cloning describes a number of different processes that can be used to produce genetically identical copies of a biological entity.
  • The copied material, which has the same genetic makeup as the original, is referred to as a clone.
  • Researchers have cloned a wide range of biological materials, including genes, cells, tissues and even entire organisms, such as a sheep.
  • Natural clones, also known as identical twins, occur in humans and other mammals.
    • These twins are produced when a fertilized egg splits, creating two or more embryos that carry almost identical DNA.
    • Identical twins have nearly the same genetic makeup as each other, but they are genetically different from either parent.
  • There are three different types of artificial cloning: gene cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning.
    1. Gene cloning produces copies of genes or segments of DNA.
    2. Reproductive cloning produces copies of whole animals.
    3. Therapeutic cloning produces embryonic stem cells for experiments aimed at creating tissues to replace injured or diseased tissues.
  • Gene cloning, also known as DNA cloning, is a very different process from reproductive and therapeutic cloning. Reproductive and therapeutic cloning shares many of the same techniques, but is done for different purposes.

  • In 1996, Scottish scientists cloned the first animal, a sheep they named Dolly. She was cloned using an udder cell taken from an adult sheep. 

How are animals cloned?

  • In reproductive cloning, researchers remove a mature somatic cell, such as a skin cell, from an animal that they wish to copy.
  • They then transfer the DNA of the donor animal's somatic cell into an egg cell, or oocyte, that has had its own DNA-containing nucleus removed.
  • Researchers can add the DNA from the somatic cell to the empty egg in two different ways.
  • In the first method, they remove the DNA-containing nucleus of the somatic cell with a needle and inject it into the empty egg.
  • In the second approach, they use an electrical current to fuse the entire somatic cell with the empty egg.
  • In both processes, the egg is allowed to develop into an early-stage embryo in the test-tube and then is implanted into the womb of an adult female animal.
  • Ultimately, the adult female gives birth to an animal that has the same genetic makeup as the animal that donated the somatic cell.
  • This young animal is referred to as a clone. Reproductive cloning may require the use of a surrogate mother to allow development of the cloned embryo, as was the case for the most famous cloned organism, Dolly the sheep.
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