Company Offers Cloning to Customers

A San Francisco, Calif., company has announced its intention to clone one individual's horse in short order for commercial profit, to the tune of $367,593 plus additional patent royalties based on the number of clones that are produced and their value. The announcement marks the first U.S. commercial cloning venture devoted just to horses. An interested party must contact the company by Aug. 15 to have their horse cloned for resulting birth(s) in 2006.

Peter Kagel, founder and president of, estimates that the buyer of the opportunity could end up with 0-16 clones, depending on the success of the cloning procedures. The process will be undertaken by the University of Idaho (UI) and Utah State University (USU) team that successfully cloned three mules born in 2003. The UI/USU team is part of the private company ClonE2, LLC, which has an agreement with

According to Dirk Vanderwall, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, assistant professor of animal and veterinary science at UI, the Aug. 15 cutoff date illustrates that time is short for producing a clone to be born in 2006, since mares' ovulation cycles won't be as easy to manipulate for embryo transfer this fall and winter as they would be in the spring. But if someone steps up to have a horse commercially cloned, the team will make the attempt. Cloning procedures have improved in the past two years, the researchers say. Owners that want to have their horses cloned, but not right away, can go ahead and have their horses’ DNA banked.

"We've had a lot of inquiring calls, but no commitment yet," said Don Jacklin, chairman of ClonE2 and a businessman in Post Falls, Idaho, who owns the mule whose cells were used to produce the three clones in 2003. "I think it's new in everyone's mind and they are wrestling with the concept." He says owners of registered champions might wonder if there will be legal battles with associations on the ability of owners to register and compete, race, or breed clones. The only association that ClonE2 has approached is the American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS), which accepted the three cloned mules into its registry. Jacklin expects that the owners of cloned animals will likely be the ones who approach breed associations about the controversial procedure. Some breed associations only register horses conceived through live cover breeding (i.e., The Jockey Club for Thoroughbreds), while others allow horses conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like artificial insemination, oocyte transfer, and embryo transfer. For the registries that do allow certain ART, the procedures were often heavily debated and resisted before their acceptance.

Cloning has been a prominent topic this year. A French company called Cryozootech (, in collaboration with Laboratorio di Tecnologie della Riproduzione-Consorzio per l'Incremento Zootecnico (LTR-CIZ) in Cremona, Italy, and Texas A&M University, announced the birth of two clones of champion horses (Endurance champion Pieraz and a champion European Warmblood whose owners wish that he remain anonymous) this spring. According to the Cryozootech web site, two more clones are due soon, originating from the genetic material of world-class show jumper geldings Calvaro V and ET-FRH. Just last week, scientists in South Korea announced the birth of the first dog clone.

Kagel would like to have the collaboration clone a horse of the caliber of infertile Thoroughbred champion Cigar, but he says he was told that horse is off-limits for a cloning attempt. "Horse cloning is the wave of the future," Kagel said in a company release. "People are only going to clone quality horses, the top-of-the-bloodline champions. Eventually cloning will allow today's economically unattainable horse to be purchased by the middle-class horse aficionado."

Horse owners interested in learning about cloning their horse should visit or contact Kagel at 305/304-0368.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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