Research Highlights

Breeding buffalo bull cloned

doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.140 Published online 21 October 2019

The cloned bull at CIRB, Hisar.

© CIRB

Indian researchers have successfully cloned a breeding bull of the milch Murrah buffalo1. Such cloning, they say, can be used as a valuable breeding tool to complement artificial insemination for improving buffalo germplasm in India and worldwide.

Despite several births of buffalo clones worldwide, no information is available on their health and reproductive performance. This is, however, essential if cloned bulls are to be employed in breeding schemes.

To determine the suitability of the cloned buffalo bulls for breeding schemes, scientists from India's ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes in Hisar and the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, created embryos using skin- and semen-derived donor cells. They then transferred the embryos to buffaloes. Two of them became pregnant, of which gave birth to a healthy calf.

The cloned calf had no physical abnormalities in its face, eyes, nostrils and legs. Besides, its blood content and other biochemical parameters were within the normal reference ranges of the buffalo. The researchers say that the calf, now 40 months of age with body weight of 760 kilograms, is producing good quality semen.

Given the huge demand for quality semen, buffalo cloning can help produce breeding bulls to reduce dependency on conventional methods of bull production, says lead author Naresh L. Selokar. Such cloning, he says, could also help genetically improve the buffalo species.


References

1. Selokar, N. L. et al. Successful cloning of a superior buffalo bull. Sci. Rep. 9, 11366 (2019)