China create world’s first cloned wild Arctic wolf ‘Maya’

A wild Arctic wolf was cloned by China for the first time in the world. The donor cell of the wolf came from the skin sample of a wild female Arctic wolf and its oocyte was captured from a female dog.

China create world’s first cloned wild Arctic wolf
China create world’s first cloned wild Arctic wolf

For the first time in the world, a wild Arctic wolf was successfully cloned by a Beijing-based gene firm. The cloning of the Arctic wolf also called polar or white wolf is considered a milestone achievement in saving rare and endangered species through cloning technology. 

The Arctic wolf is native to the High Arctic tundra of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Islands. The wolf's name is Maya and she’s in good health according to the company. The donor cell of the wolf came from the skin sample of a wild female Arctic wolf and its oocyte was captured from a female dog.

What was the procedure for cloning Arctic Wolf?

  1. To save endangered animals, research on cloning the Arctic wolf was started in 2020.
  2. After two years of severe efforts, the Arctic wolf was cloned.
  3. Maya’s surrogate mother was a dog breed, Beagle.
  4. The dog was chosen as the surrogate as it shares genetic ancestry with ancient wolves, ensuring success in cloning.
  5. The process started with constructing 137 new embryos from enucleated oocytes and somatic cells.
  6. The process was further followed by the transfer of 85 embryos to the uteri of seven beagles, one of which was born as a healthy wolf. 

What is cloning?

  1. The process of producing living organisms, including cells, tissues, etc., with identical genetic materials either through natural or artificial means, is known as cloning.
  2. Some organisms produce clones through asexual reproduction in nature.
  3. Cloning a cell means deriving a number of cells from a single cell. 
  4. Artificially, sheep Dolly was the first animal to be cloned. 
  5. A Scottish scientist created it in 1996 by using an udder cell from an adult sheep. 

Arctic wolf

The arctic wolf is also called a polar or white wolf. It is a subspecies of the grey wolf found in the High Arctic tundra region of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Island. Arctic wolves spend their lives north of the northern treeline. The animal is medium-sized and distinguished from the northwestern wolf by its smaller size, narrower braincase, white coloration, and larger carnassials.

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