Endangered cow cloned in Brazil

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Brazil — The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa, which is linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, has created two clones from a Junqueira cow. The Junqueira is an endangered species. It is estimated that there are less than 100 of them on Brazilian territory.

The cloned calves were created using cells from the ear of a nine year old cow. The first clone, called "Porã" was born on April 10, weighing 55 lbs. (25 kg), after 292 days of gestation. "Potira", the second cloned calf was born, weighing 64 lbs. (29 kg), on April 24, after a 290-day gestation period. The clones are healthy, and are being monitored by Embrapa researchers.

The breed Junqueira is popular for meat and milk production. In addition, they are used as work animals. The first cows were brought to Brazil by Spanish and Portuguese settlers. The breed developed inside São Paulo, during the 18th and 19th centuries. The cows' long horns are their most prominent identifying characteristic. The horns were originally used to make "berrante", a Brazilian instrument used by cowboys to call cattle.

The Embrapa researcher, Arthur da Silva Mariante said that the research will continue and that other wild animals threatened by extinction may also be cloned.

The clones are part of the doctorate thesis of Lílian Iguma, a member of the research team.

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