Scientists clone first Pashmina goat

Cuddly breakthrough

In a first, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) have successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat.

The healthy female goat was born on March 9 using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique, director, research of SKUAST Shafiq A Wani said on Tuesday.

Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry made the breakthrough under the leadership of Associate Professor, Centre of Animal Biotechnology, Riaz Ahmad Shah.
He was assisted by a team of scientists including Nazir A Ganai, Hilal Musadiq, Mujeeb Fazili, F D Sheikh, T A S Ganai along with Syed Hilal, Maajid Hassan and Firdous Khan as research associates.

Shah was the key researcher in the team of scientists who earlier in 2009 gave the first cloned buffalo calf, "Garima" using the same handmade cloning technique while doing research at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal in Haryana, he said.

The programme called National Agricultural Innovation Project of ICAR was funded by the World Bank, Wani said.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of a week-long training programme on "Reproductive technologies in sheep and goat".

The success of this technology would open up new vista in strategic and applied research which includes multiplication of elite animals of desired sex, stem cell technology for regenerative medicine, cloned animals as disease models, and conservation of threatened wild and domestic animal species, said Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Professor In-charge, Centre of Animal Biotechnology.

Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Kashmir Tej Partap appreciated the team and expressed hope that the technology would help to improve the lot of Pashmina goats, particularly in frontier Ladakh region to harness better income opportunities for the people.

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