Cloning is the process of creating genetically identical individuals of an organism. Cloning can happen naturally or can be done artificially. In nature, many organisms produce clones through asexual reproduction.
The organism produced by the method of cloning is called a clone. The word clone was introduced by Herbert J. Weber, who borrowed it from the ancient Greek word, which means a process by which a new plant can be created from a twig.
The first study of cloning was in 1885 by Hans Adolf Eduard, who was a German scientist researching on reproduction. He managed to create a set of twin salamanders in 1902 when he divided an embryo into two. The biggest breakthrough in cloning was made when Dolly, the female cloned domestic sheep was born on July 5, 1996. She became the first cloned mammalian produced from an adult somatic cell. The nuclear transfer process was used in the cloning process. Ever since that time, geneticists have successfully cloned different animals. Some examples have been mentioned below:
Injaz, The Camel
Injaz is an Arabic word that means achievement, and it is a name given to a cloned female dromedary camel that was born on April 8, 2009. It was the first cloned camel in the world, and its production is credited to Dr. Nisar Ahmed Wani, a reproductive biologist and lead researcher of the Camel Production Centre in UAE. The announcement of Injaz's birth was made on April 14, 2009. She was born following an uncomplicated gestation period of 378 days. Cloning was supported by the Prime Minister, the vice president of the UAE, and the Emir of Dubai. Initially, there were numerous unsuccessful attempts to clone a camel. The ovarian cell, which was used to create Ijaz, was from an adult camel, which was slaughtered in 2005 for meat.
Copycat was the first cloned cat that was born on December 22, 2001. She was cloned by a geneticist from Texas A&M University in collaboration with Genetic Savings & Clone Inc. Copycat was able to give birth to four kittens in September 2006, and the kittens were fathered naturally. The litter consisted of two males and two females, although one female was stillborn. This was the first kitten of a cloned cat to give birth. By 2007, Copycat was still healthy and free from any cloning related problems that had been witnessed indifferent cloned animals. The kittens were also healthy, according to scientists.
Snuppy, The Dog
Snuppy was the first cloned dog that lived from April 24, 2005, to May 2015. The dog was cloned using a cell taken from the ear of an adult Afghan hound. More than 120 surrogate mothers were involved, and only two succeeded in having puppies, and Snuppy puppy was the only survivor. The cloning was carried out by scientists from Seoul National University, and the lead researcher was Woo Suk Hwang. The sperm taken from Snuppy was used to inseminate two other cloned dogs, and in 2008, they gave birth to 10 puppies. To investigate health problems associated with cloning, in 2017, scientists created four clones of Snuppy.
Ralph, The Rat
Ralph was a cloned rat created by scientists from China and France using an adult cell. It was the first rat to be cloned, and about 129 embryos were used in two females to give birth to Ralph. Only one became pregnant, giving birth to three offsprings, and Ralph was the firstborn. Later, for medical purposes, Ralph was cloned to create genetically identical rats that were used to study rat physiology.
Royana, The Sheep
Royana was the first successfully cloned sheep in Iran and the Middle East. The cloning was carried out by scientists from Royan Research Institute in 2006. The first attempt of cloning of a sheep in the Institute had been carried out, although the sheep died a few hours after it was born. However, Royana lived until 2010. Scientists used a cell from an adult sheep, and the embryo was later implanted on a female uterus. Royana was born after 145 days through a cesarean section on April 15th, 2006. Royana was euthanized in 2010, following numerous complications.
Prometea, The Horse
Prometea, the first cloned horse, was cloned by a geneticist from the Laboratory of Reproductive Technology in Italy. Prometea was born on May 28, 2003, after a full-term pregnancy. At birth, its weight was 79lbs, and after two months, it weighed 220 lbs. Scientists used 841 reconstructed embryos, and only 14 embryos were deemed viable, and four were implanted in surrogate mothers. Out of the four, only Prometea was born successfully.
Got, The Fighting Bull
The first cloned fighting bull in the world was named Got and was born in Spain on May 18, 2010. Got was cloned by scientists from Valencia Foundation for Veterinary Research and Prince Felipe Research Centre. Got was cloned from a fighting bull named Vasito. Although Got is the first fighter bull to be cloned, he was not the first bull to be cloned. The first-ever cloned bull was “Second Chance,” who was born in 1999.
Cumulina, The Mouse
Cumulina was the first cloned mouse that lived from 1997 to 2000 and died of old age at two years seven months, which was seven months above the average age of the mice species. Cumulina had two offsprings and did not suffer from any defects associated with cloning. However, at 23 months, it developed a skin tumor that is common among aging mice, and it was removed successfully. Scientists at the University of Hawaii cloned Cumulina.
Tetra, The Monkey
Tetra was the first primate to be cloned by the Oregon National Primate Research Center led by Professor Gerald Schatten. Tetra was born in October 1999, and the cloning technique used was embryo splitting. In 2018, Chinese scientists reported to have cloned macaque monkey, the same species as Tetra, and they had used a technique known as complex DNA transfer, the same process that produced Dolly, the sheep.
Idaho Gem, The Mule
The Idaho Gem was the first mule to be cloned through the collaborative work of the scientist from Utah State University and the University of Idaho. Idaho Gem was born on May 4, 2003. Two more clones were born in the same year. Utah pioneer mule was born on June 9, 2003, and Idaho Star was born on July 27, 2003.