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

Cloned Arctic Wolf: For the first time in the world, Scientists in China have successfully cloned a wild Arctic Wolf.

Key Points:

  • The Arctic Wolf also called polar or white wolf  was successfully cloned by a Beijing-based gene company to save the imperiled species from extinction.
  • The newly cloned wolf has been named Maya, which means good health.
  • The donor cell of the wolf came from the skin sample of a wild female Arctic wolf.
  • Its oocyte was captured from a female dog.

The procedure used for cloning Arctic Wolf:

  • Arctic wolf cloning research was initiated in 2020 with the goal of saving endangered species.
  • The cloning process started with constructing 137 new embryos from enucleated(process of removing nucleus from the cell)  oocytes and somatic cells.
  • 85 embryos were transferred to the uteri of seven beagles.
  • The beagle was chosen as the surrogate mother since it has been identified that this canine breed shares genetic ancestry with ancient wolf.
  • After two years of severe efforts, the Arctic wolf was cloned.

About Arctic Wolf:

  • The Arctic Wolf is also known as white wolf or polar wolf is native to the High Arctic tundra of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Islands.
  • It is a subspecies of the grey wolf.
  • This medium-sized wolf is smaller than the Alaskan timber wolf.
  • Since the 1930s, there has been a significant decline in the size of the Arctic wolf’s skull because of the wolf-dog hybridization.

What is cloning?

  • Cloning is the process of producing identical genetically matched live entities, such as cells, tissues, etc., either through organic or artificial means.
  • Some organisms in nature use asexual reproduction to create clones.
  • Cloning a cell means deriving a number of cells from a single cell.

 Other Cloned Animals:

  • Artificially, sheep Dolly was the first animal to be cloned in 1996. It was created by Scottish scientist by using an udder cell from an adult sheep.
  • Just recently, in July 2022, Japanese scientists have also succeeded in producing cloned mice using freeze-dried skin cells.

This new breakthrough makes it possible to practice bio-banking, which involves saving animal cells and creating clones from them.