Scamper Clone Offered for Commercial Breeding

A carbon copy of one of the world's most successful barrel horses has become the first clone to be offered at stud in the United States.

"Clayton" is the clone of the AQHA gelding Gills Bay Boy, or Scamper, as he is better known. Scamper and his rider, Charmayne James, dominated barrel racing in the 1980s and early 1990s. Together they earned 10 consecutive world titles in the Women's Professional Rodeo Association. Scamper was also the first barrel horse to be inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

"This is going to add genetic variety because here you had a horse that was a gelding, who is now able to pass on his genes," said Gregg Veneklasen, DVM, a veterinarian at Viagen, an animal genetics company. Veneklasen is standing Clayton at stud in Texas. "This really shows the power of cloning. Four years ago I would have told you we were 20 years away from this point, but now I even own a yearling clone."

Scamper meets his clone

Scamper, in foreground, meeting his clone, Clayton. Now a 2-year-old, Clayton is being offered at stud.

Clayton has already been bred to two mares. The stallion, who turned two in August, commands a stud fee of $4,000.

According to Veneklasen, James is thrilled because, although the horses look different, their dispositions are similar. Clayton has a star and snip on his face, while Scamper does not. This is because of environmental differences while the fetuses were developing.

Katrin Hinrichs, DVM, PhD, the lead scientist on the team that cloned the first horse in North America, explained that differences in clones result in how the individuals express their genes. Environmental factors can influence this and it can result in a clone that is taller, shorter, or has different markings.

However, Clayton's sperm would be exactly the same as Scamper's, if Scamper were a stallion. "All the genes are reset to zero," Hinrichs said.

Currently the AQHA does not register clones, so Clayton's offspring will not be able to be registered. Veneklasen said he feels that this is something many breed registries are going to have to address in the near future as many more clones of elite geldings are in the works at Viagen.

"We have many pregnancies right now, but the identity of the clones is confidential," he said.

Read more about Clayton.

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Liz Brown

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