Posted by VP Editor on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 in
Meesha Kaufman’s five chihuahuas are a lot alike. Their tails wag, their eyes bulge, and their bark is almost certainly bigger than their bite. They’re all named after superheroes’ secret identities— Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, and Wade Wilson. In other words, they are like any normal pampered chihuahuas. But there are ways to tell the dogs apart.
As the chihuahuas paw and nibble on each other like two-year-old pups are apt to do, it’s easy to notice that the black spotting on their white-furred bodies varies from dog to dog. Their personalities are also different, Kaufman says, pointing at each dog. “I have an angry one, a funny one, a really sweet one, and one that’s really independent.”
Posted by VP Editor on Monday, November 30th, 2020 in
When their 12-year-old dog Marley was diagnosed with cancer, the Tschirhart family couldn’t bear to say goodbye. So, they turned to ViaGen Pets, of Austin, Texas, a company that has cloned hundreds of pets for a multitude of grateful owners. Correspondent Tracy Smith checks out what the right amount of love, science and money can bring to an animal lover.
Posted by VP Editor on Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 in
Mr. Tufts Jr. is the color of ink, and his fur is as soft as a cloud. Large copper eyes are filled with curiosity — and more than a little mischief. His athletic legs are spring-loaded for leaping to the top of the china cabinet, fireplace mantel, stair railing and anywhere else he shouldn’t go, but does anyway because, well, he’s a cat.
At nearly nine months old and 8 ½ pounds, his owner describes Mr. Tufts Jr. as “a holy terror,” a four-legged adolescent “little beast” who has suddenly discovered his claws “that he uses to shred toilet paper all over the house.” But of course, there’s the cuddle factor – “he’s sweet and very affectionate.”
Mr. Tufts Jr. is the spitting image of his namesake, Mr. Tufts. That’s because junior is a clone.
Posted by VP Editor on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 in
The first successfully cloned endangered Przewalski’s horse was born on Aug. 6 in a veterinary facility in Texas, San Diego Zoo Global announced on Friday. The horse was cloned from DNA of a male Przewalski’s horse cryopreserved by the zoo in 1980.
Przewalski’s horses are “critically endangered” animals that are found in Mongolia, per Smithsonian’s National Zoo. They’re considered the last species of “truly wild horses” and are “distant cousins” of modern day domestic horses, having likely split from a common ancestor around 500,000 years ago, per the Smithsonian.
Przewalski’s horses were once extinct in the wild, and while intensive breeding programs helped revive the species and reintroduce them into the grasslands of China and Mongolia, nearly all can be traced back to 12 Przewalski’s horses that were born in the wild, the San Diego Zoo said in its press release. The successful cloning of DNA collected 40 years is meant to introduce key generic diversity into the species that could benefit its survival. The zoo said the cloned Przewalski’s horse will eventually be transferred to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and integrated into a herd of other Przewalski’s horses for breeding.
Posted by VP Editor on Saturday, September 5th, 2020 in
On Aug. 6, 2020, the world’s first successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse was born in Texas at the veterinary facility of a ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary. The foal, born to a domestic surrogate mother, is a clone of a male Przewalski’s horse whose DNA was cryopreserved 40 years ago at the San Diego Zoo Global(SDZG) Frozen Zoo®. The colt’s birth revives genetic diversity that had been lost to the world and has now been recovered due to this important partnership between Revive & Restore, ViaGen Equine and San Diego Zoo Global.
“The work to save endangered species requires collaborative and dedicated partners with aligned goals,” said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “We share in this remarkable achievement because we applied our multidisciplinary approach, working with the best scientific minds and utilizing precious genetic material collected and stored in our wildlife DNA bio bank.”
The colt represents the first time this species has been cloned, and scientists indicate it could provide an important model for future conservation efforts.
“This birth expands the opportunity for genetic rescue of endangered wild species,” said Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive & Restore. “Advanced reproductive technologies, including cloning, can save species by allowing us to restore genetic diversity that would have otherwise been lost to time.”
The new cloned foal, who will be moved to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to be integrated into a breeding herd of his species once he is older, represents a major milestone for Przewalski’s horse conservation. He was cloned from a cell line stored in the Frozen Zoo since 1980. That stallion was born in 1975 in the UK, was transferred to the US in 1978 and lived until 1998. As the new clone matures and successfully breeds, he can provide a valuable infusion of genetic diversity for the Przewalski’s horse population.