World's first buffalo clone dies

Garima died of complications arising out of enlargement of heart

The buffalo was cloned two years ago at the institute after several years of exhaustive research by NDRI scientists. In 2009, the efforts yielded results and the world’s first buffalo clone was born at the institute at Karnal bringing cheer among scientists and drawing applause from across the globe.

On Thursday, the buffalo clone named Garima (pride) — perhaps symbolic to the nation’s achievement in the field of dairy research for the rare feat — breathe its last. The buffalo clone died of complications arising out of enlargement of heart.

Garima weighed close to 200 kg and was two years old at the time of death. Scientists said Garima was not keeping well for about a month. She was reluctant to eat fodder.

However, for the last week or so, her health started to deteriorate rapidly. The buffalo clone stopped responding to the treatment and efforts to save Garima eventually failed.

After Garima’s birth, NDRI produced two more buffalo clones, the last one on August 22, 2010 and both seem to be  healthy. A rare Hand guided cloning technique developed at NDRI, which is an advanced modification of the Conventional Cloning Technique, was adopted by scientists for Garmia’s birth through cesarean two years ago. 

The technique was further improved during the process of preparing the other two clones.

Garima grew up normally receiving special attention and fodder by caretakers. The buffalo was kept for a long time in an air cooled set up isolated from other animals to avoid any bleak possibility of infection.

Garima was fed on treated fodder to avoid complication. If sources are to be believed, scientists at NDRI were preparing pregnancy of the buffalo clone. NDRI director A K Srivastava said the buffalo clone had an enlarged heart, which perhaps must have been since birth. He said: “The clone buffalo developed complications because of this disease and died. The post-mortem was carried out by a team of vets and scientists.”

The director said the death was not really a setback since the other two clone buffalos were healthy without any complication.

In the first improvised technique that scientists used for Garima’s birth, immature oocytes were isolated from ovaries and were matured in vitro.

The enucleated oocyte was then electro-fused with single cell taken from colony of embryonic stem cells.

The resulting embryos were cultured and grown in the laboratory for seven days to develop them to the stage of blastocyst which were transferred to recipient buffaloes.
Buffalo cloning was researched by NDRI scientists as a mode for faster multiplication of elite buffalos which was essential to face the challenges of increasing demands of milk in the world.

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