Second Mule Clone Born

The research team that made headlines in May after producing the world's first equine clone--a mule named Idaho Gem--on June 9 has repeated its success with the birth of another mule--Utah Pioneer.

Researchers Gordon Woods, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACT, and Dirk Vanderwall, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, from the University of Idaho (UI); and Ken White, PhD, from Utah State University, said the male mule foal's birth was natural and unassisted. The colt weighed 78 pounds (35 kg) at birth, and according to Woods was healthy and very active.

The equine cloning team will again submit samples to a University of California, Davis, laboratory for independent verification as they did with Idaho Gem. Woods said he has no doubt about the outcome: "He's a male mule, and he looks like Idaho Gem. He is what he is."

Idaho Gem and Utah Pioneer are full siblings of Taz, a champion racing mule owned by Idaho businessman, UI benefactor, and mule enthusiast Don Jacklin. The foals carry identical DNA from a fetal skin cell culture established five years ago at UI from Taz' mother and father. At press time, a third sibling was due to be born.

The UI-Utah State team is the first to succeed among several teams worldwide attempting to clone a member of the horse family. The 2002 preliminary testing showed the method developed by the researchers to successfully clone a mule should work equally as well with a horse. For images and information on the cloning projects of this team, visit

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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