First Clone-to-Clone Foal Produced

Researchers recently took equine cloning science a step further when the world’s first filly produced by a clone and out of a clone was born. Or, more simply put, the world’s first clone-to-clone foal.

To produce the foal, tissue and DNA samples from champion bucking gelding Go Wild were collected, frozen, and used after his death to produce three clones: Go Left, Go Right, and Go Straight. Semen from Go Straight was collected and used to artificially inseminate a filly clone of the infertile champion bucking mare Spring Fling.

Once the Spring Fling clone, Chloe, was confirmed pregnant, the embryo (developing fetus) was flushed from Chloe’s uterus and transferred to a surrogate mare that ultimately foaled the filly.

Gregg Veneklasen, DVM, owner of Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Texas, played a central role in producing the clone-to-clone filly, with his colleagues' assistance.

“The interesting thing is that this filly is not a clone herself, just like any foal produced from mating either one or two clones,” Veneklasen explained. “In fact, she is has brand new genetics—no one has ever bred a gelding to an infertile mare before and produced a live foal.”

Despite the horse industry’s increasing acceptance of cloning—by organizations such as the Fédération Equestre Internationale, for instance—not all horse lovers are as supportive of the cloning process. Cloning opponents argue that the practice is unneeded due to the “unwanted horse” issue and horses being exported from the United States for slaughter.

Veneklasen counters, “We aren’t looking at producing millions of clones, just a select few. Further, one of my team members … currently owns over 2,000 recipient mares that are all horses saved from going to slaughter.

“Ultimately, the goals (of cloning) are to save genetics and, in the future, look at and perhaps silence detrimental genes, not to produce more horses going to slaughter,” Veneklasen concluded.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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